Barnet councillors held a minute’s silence at yesterday’s full council meeting to commemorate former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Mayor of Barnet Brian Schama led 30 minutes of tributes to the “remarkable” leader he remembered for her excellent attention to detail and her continuing interest in Finchley even after she retired from politics.

Leader of the Council Richard Cornelius praised her “inspirational” qualities, such as her ability to know what she wanted and do it, and stick to the point without waffling.

He said: “She really did represent and listen to constituents; she has a special place in the borough. There is no question the world changed with her.”

Conservative Cllr Helena Hart, who said she was proud to have been called an “unreconstructed Thatcherite,” said Mrs Thatcher was one of the country’s greatest leaders who brought Britain from the brink of despair and “effected change across the globe.”

Cllr Hart praised the attention and support Mrs Thatcher gave to her constituency of Finchley and Friern Barnet, even after she became Prime Minister, adding Mrs Thatcher was in the constituency at least once every three weeks and did her best to attend events and functions.

She said: “She was interested in what people thought, she cared and listened. No one could have been kinder or more understanding.”

Cllr John Marshall remembered an “Iron Lady with a very soft heart”, who gave support and money to good causes in her constituency.

Leader of the Labour group Cllr Alison Moore admitted Mrs Thatcher was a “remarkable woman”, even if she did not agree with her policies.

She said: “You shouldn’t underestimate the battles she faced. She overcame every obstacle in her path. She was a woman who carved her place in the history books with determination.”

However, Cllr Moore criticised Mrs Thatcher‘s policy of selling off council housing, adding it was in many ways to blame for the current housing crisis.

Cllr Jim Tierney added Mrs Thatcher had made a mockery of the words of St Francis she quoted in her first speech as Prime Minister, when she promised: “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony.”

He said: “She was a strident, dominant lady whose victory was at the nation’s expense. She brought discord and despair to the country and cabinet.”