Boris Johnson said today he was more sympathetic to Baroness Thatcher now than when he was young and defended the cost of her funeral.
The Conservative Mayor of London said it was right that the funeral, which some reports suggest could cost millions of pounds, should remember her properly.
He told Sky News: "When I was much younger I perhaps wasn't as sympathetic towards her as I later became, but what she stood for was the ability to bash down doors and to allow anybody to achieve what they wanted.
"I remember thinking that when the IRA hunger strikers were [striking] I was in school and very young. I remember thinking that was a very, very tough thing for a British government to do. Whatever you thought about it, you couldn't fault her for logic and consistency."
He added: "I think it is right that we should do proper honour, remember properly a Prime Minister who served this country for a record length of time and who was faced with huge challenges and surmounted every single one of them. And I think for people who ask is this the right way to remember her, the answer is here in the crowds around St Paul's."
On protests, he said: "We've got a democracy and people are perfectly entitled to disagree and make their point and indeed to protest but I would just like to point out this is the funeral of an 87-year-old woman whose family are in mourning so I really hope that people will show restraint."
And paying tribute to Lady Thatcher, he said: "She stood for upending elites and allowing people to make progress in their lives and invading the stuffy cosy cartels, very often male dominated, that ran Britain before she took over."