Thatcher left ‘legacy of poverty’

Margaret Thatcher visits Dewsbury District Hospital 28/02/1990
Margaret Thatcher visits Dewsbury District Hospital 28/02/1990

Community leaders from the former mining towns of Wakefield’s South East have looked back at the prime minister who ‘ripped the area to shreds’ in the wake of her death.

Baroness Margaret Thatcher died on Monday, aged 87, following a stroke. She was the first woman prime minister and held office for the Conservatives from 1979 to 1990.

The news of her death was met with mixed emotions .

Current Prime Minister David Cameron led tributes nationally to Mrs Thatcher.

He said: “I believe she will go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister

“Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds. The real thing is she didn’t just lead our country; she saved our country.”

But in the Express area the response was less positive.

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said: “The legacy she left in the villages was one of poverty and unemployment with the destruction of proud and hard working mining communities which had helped make Britain the prosperous country it then was.”

John Pickin, 72, was branch president at Frickley Colliery before it closed in 1993. He worked at the colliery for 38 years and was instrumental in the 1984-85 miners’ strike.

He said: “People around here will never forget what she did to the community. She ripped it to shreds. Not only did people lose their jobs, but also their wives and families because they were struggling to live.”

Leader of South Kirkby and Moorthorpe Town Council, and Labour district councillor Laurie Harrison said: “She ruined our communities. She deteriorated the social fabric of it. Before her, anyone could get a job at the pit. Those jobs were indigenous to our area, but because of her they were no more.”