Twenty-nine-years-ago the IRA tried to murder Margaret Thatcher by blowing up a Brighton Hotel during the Tory party conference.
Lord Tebbit, then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, now lives in Bury St Edmunds where he cares for his wife who was left disabled in the blast.
He led tributes to Lady Thatcher following her death this week.
“She found the country in chaos. The Trade Unions had brought down Ted Heath’s government, and Jim Callaghan’s government.
“She had to succeed. If she hadn’t it would have been the end of democracy here.”
He said she left a legacy which included the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, while in the UK council tenants became home owners, and big car manufacturers were attracted back to Britain.
“These things would never have happened without her,” he said.
“Of course there was a price to pay and great sadness at some of the things that had to be done.”
But he said it was telling that none of the legislation around privitisation and industrial relations had since been reversed by the successive Governments.
Meanwhile former Bury MP Sir Eldon Griffiths who welcomed Mrs Thatcher to Bury in 1983 and again in 1987 in the run up to the elections, said: “At her best she was a leader to compare with Churchill.
“The modern world has seen no stronger champion of freedom, no more eloquent a promoter on behalf of privitisation, no more persuasive an exponent of enterprise and the market economy.
“She did not have a light touch. She handled power well but never sparingly.”
He said she had a ‘rare charm, some spite, vision and courage’ and led a ‘British renasanciance reviving a national self confidence’.
“In the process she enabled tens of millions of tenants to become home owners, blue collar workers to become share holders and shop floor workers to become enterpreneurs.
“Britain was a richer, stronger, better place to live when Margaret Thatcher resigned than when she became PM,” said Sir Eldon.
He told how they remained friends and she had visited him in around the Millennium at his home in California, jokingly calling him the MP for Orange County.