NRI publisher pays tributes to Thatcher on 30th anniversary of poll win


London : A leading India-born publisher paid lavish tributes to Margaret Thatcher in the House of Commons Thursday as the former British prime minister was feted next door on the 30th anniversary of her famous election victory.

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“When Margaret Thatcher won the election, Britain was called the ‘sick man of Europe.’ The fact that it is no longer the ‘sick man’ is largely due to her,” said C.B. Patel, head of the ABPL Group that publishes Gujarat Samachar and Asian Voice among a range of other titles aimed at Asian readers.

Patel was speaking at a function in the British lower house of parliament to launch the 9th edition of Finance, Banking and Insurance (FBI) – one of the magazines from the ABPL stable – while Thatcher was being honoured next door at the House of Lords.

Thatcher, now a member of the upper house, became Britain’s first woman prime minister on May 4, 1979 and introduced radical economic reforms that Patel said put Britain on the road to economic recovery.

“She wanted me to accompany her on her first trip to India. When I said I opposed her on the Immigration and Nationalities Bill, she still insisted that I go with her. She was fair in public life and a courageous politician,” Patel said.

The event was attended by a large number of bankers, finance executives and leading Labour MPs, including Stephen Pound, Keith Vaz and Virendra Sharma.