SINCE the turn of the year, no less than three Labour MPs have come out in praise of former Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

This is the woman who has been described in an exhibit in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as a “contemporary villain,” but senior Labour figures have continued to suggest she sparked "meaningful change" in the UK and was a “visionary leader”.

We’ve had a look at which Labour politicians have praised Thatcher in recent months and in years gone by.

Keir Starmer

The Labour leader can probably be credited with having started this recent trend of hailing the Iron Lady after he praised her in December for effecting “meaningful change” in the UK.

In an article for The Sunday Telegraph, Starmer said he was extending a hand of friendship to all Britons - irrespective of whom they have supported in the past at the ballot box.

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But he went on to hail Thatcher whom he said effected "meaningful change" in the UK as she "sought to drag Britain out of its stupor by setting loose our natural entrepreneurialism" during her 11 years in Downing Street.

Labour national campaign coordinator Pat McFadden defended Starmer's praise of Thatcher saying "there's no path to victory that doesn’t include appealing to people who have been voting Conservative in recent years".

Rachel Reeves

Starmer now appears to have passed the baton to his shadow chancellor Reeves (below) who, in a speech on Tuesday, said a Labour government would be as radical as Thatcher.

She used the speech to say the UK stands at an “inflection point” similar to that in the late 1970s and pledged, like Thatcher, to restore growth by rejecting “managed decline” and delivering the supply side reforms necessary to “equip Britain to compete in a fast-changing world”.

The National:

This wasn’t the first time she had echoed the Iron Lady. She said back in October “we want our money back,” after announcing that a Labour government would appoint a “Covid corruption commissioner” to “chase down those who have ripped off the taxpayer”.

The comments appears to be an echo of Thatcher, who won her four-year battle to reduce Britain’s payments to the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1980 after famously declaring “I want my money back”.

David Lammy

Speaking to Politico’s Power Play interview podcast, shadow foreign secretary Lammy said Thatcher was a “visionary leader”.

He insisted Reeves’s comparison with Thatcher was “very apposite”.

“You can take issue with Mrs Thatcher’s prescription, but she had a big manifesto for change and set about a course that lasted for over two decades,” the top Labour MP said.

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“Margaret Thatcher was a visionary leader for the UK, no doubt about it, that’s absolutely clear.”

Darren Jones

On Tuesday, top Labour MP Darren Jones claimed Thatcher oversaw a “decade of national renewal for our country”.

The shadow chief secretary to the Treasury told Times Radio that Labour wanted to ape her programme of “economic growth and wealth creation”.

Jones said: “Both Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair delivered that decade of national renewal for our country, in terms of economic growth and wealth creation. Clearly, I prefer the Tony Blair version to the Margaret Thatcher version, given that there were people that suffered as a consequence of Thatcher’s approach.”

Tony Blair

All of the above have occurred in the last few months, but we can go all the way back to 2013 to find a former Labour leader praising Thatcher.

Just after Thatcher died in April 2013, Tony Blair said: “I always thought my job was to build on some of the things she had done rather than reverse them.”

He added that many of the things she said “had a certain credibility”.