WINDSOR MP Adam Afriyie reflects after he attends the funeral of Baroness Thatcher on Wednesday. What a privilege it was to pay my respects at the funeral of the late Baroness Thatcher.

I hadn't imagined I'd be moved to tears by the occasion. But, as I observed the simple serenity of her coffin draped in the flag of the country she loved and heard the clapping of the crowds outside, I was overwhelmed with a sense of patriotism and gratitude to one of the greatest Prime Ministers and leaders in the history of the world. I was also struck by the fact that she was also, quite simply, a wife and a mother to her children.

I am old enough to remember the piles of rotting rubbish, the blackouts, the strikes and the unburied bodies in the 1970s.

Love her or hate her as a political figure, it is indisputable that she lifted our country from its knees as a failing and humiliated nation in the eyes of the world, to the powerhouse of enterprise and economic growth. So I was honoured to sit among friends and colleagues in St Paul's Cathedral and reflect upon a time when the Conservative Party was 'the' Party of the British people.

When I joined the Conservative Party and became active in the late 1980s, it was to support Mrs Thatcher as she began to face increasing troubles from fellow MPs. In an age now where it is all too easy to remain silent, her funeral brought back to me a sense of what is was like to have a party united on a mission to fight the bullying forces of socialism and state control, and the desire to free people to be part of a property-and-share-holding democracy.

Politicians from all sides should take courage from her convictions.

As we reflected on her legacy - laughing at shared anecdotes of having met her - my colleagues and I felt proud. A grocer's daughter; she proved that hard work reaps the biggest rewards.

May she rest in peace and may we rediscover the sense of purpose we once had.

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