Mixed emotions in Sunderland as Thatcher is laid to rest

Councillor Lee Martin
Councillor Lee Martin
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POLITICAL leaders on Wearside have aired their opinions on the legacy of Baroness Thatcher as she was laid to rest.

Councillor Paul Watson, Labour member and leader of Sunderland City Council, said of the public reaction to the funeral: “It’s a subject of great interest to many people in the area, but then again, there’s a significant number of young people for whom it bears no relevance.

“She was a leader who divided opinion and evoked a lot of mixed feelings in the area during her time in Parliament, so there is bound to be a mixed reaction to her death.”

Coun Watson worked at Sunderland Shipbuilders until he was made redundant in 1981 during the PM’s early years in office.

He went on to study a law degree and become self-employed.

Conservative councillor Lee Martin, who represents the Barnes ward on the council, said the funeral was “a fitting tribute to such a towering figure in politics”.

He added: “It’s important to remember that Sunderland is a city built by the working man, owning their own home.

“Much of the leading industry on Wearside today was built on Thatcher’s policies.

“The arrival of Nissan in 1984 and Doxford International Business park was down to the foundations laid by Thatcher’s government, and they employ just as many, if not more, people than shipbuilding ever did.

“Her legacy lasted well into the 1990s and is still extremely relevant today. I think this is something people forget too easily.”