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Lord Hunt of Wirral, a minister under Baroness Thatcher, criticised those who had attacked the former prime minister following her death.
He said she "provided real leadership at a difficult time", adding that she restored Britain's reputation in the world.
Lord Hunt added: "Her strength, determination and resolve were outstanding. I was privileged to work in her team for 14 years and proud to have served in her Cabinet.
"In public life there is so often a gulf of difference between the public figure and the private person. Margaret's public image generally reflected the difficult times in which she lived and the tough decisions she had to take.
"If only more people had known what a kind and compassionate person Margaret Thatcher really was, then all the comments being made now, on all sides, might also have had a gentler, more reflective and more appropriate quality to them."
Campaigner Peter Tatchell has said that former prime minister Margaret Thatcher was, "extraordinary for mostly the wrong reasons."
The news of the Baroness Thatcher's death has also drawn reactions from some of her critics.
Former London mayor Ken Livingstone told Sky News:
Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB trade union, said:
Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop The War Coalition, said:
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has criticised Lady Thatcher, saying "her Irish policy failed miserably":
Former London mayor Ken Livingstone has described Margaret Thatcher's policies as "fundamentally wrong".
Ex Leader of the Liberal Democrats Lord Ashdown has tweeted his response to the news that Margaret Thatcher has died at the age of 87:
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Margaret Thatcher's hardline approach probably intensified the Northern Irish troubles in the early 1980s but later helped to end them.