Meryl Streep praises Margaret Thatcher as 'figure of awe'

Awarded an Oscar for her portrayal of the former Pm in The Iron Lady, actor pays tribute to her 'grit' and model as a female leader, while Arnold Schwarzenegger adds to chorus of praise and Ken Loach calls for her funeral to be privatised

Meryl Streep, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the 2011 biopic The Iron Lady, has described the late former prime minister as a "figure of awe".

The actor issued a statement after Thatcher's death at the age of 87 on Monday, which followed a stroke. Streep said her subject had been a pioneer – "willingly or unwillingly" – for the role of women in politics, allowing females from across the globe to dare to dream of leadership.

"It is hard to imagine a part of our current history that has not been affected by measures she put forward in the UK at the end of the 20th century,
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