Patrick Mayhew tributes

Patrick Mayhew tributes
SIR PATRICK MAYHEW. PIC EAMONN FARRELL/RollingNews.ie

Tributes have been paid to the former Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Patrick Mayhew, who died on June 25 aged 86.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden also served as attorney general for both England and Wales and Northern Ireland during his career and is seen as a key figure in pushing forward the peace process.

He played a vital role in the December 1993 Downing Street Declaration, formulated by John Major and Albert Reynolds, which led to the IRA ceasefire the following September.

A liberal member of the Conservative party, he was also a significant player in the Westland affair, a crisis that threatened the position of then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

And he was heavily involved when the government tried to ban the publication of Spycatcher, the memoirs of former MI5 agent Peter Wright.

Patrick Mayhew tributes
SIR PATRICK MAYHEW AND MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS DICK SPRING.  Photo: RollingNews.ie

A statement from Lord Mayhew’s family read: “He had lived with cancer and Parkinson’s for several years. He worked hard for peace in Northern Ireland.”

British politicians were quick to display their affection for Lord Mayhew and recognise the impact he had on the nation.

Current Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said: “It is with great sadness that I heard of the death of Lord Mayhew.

“Patrick Mayhew was the longest serving Northern Ireland Secretary since the post was created in 1972. It was a role he carried out with great distinction from 1992-97.

“In particular he will be remembered for his role in the Downing Street Declaration, which laid the foundations for the Northern Ireland peace process and the long, painstaking negotiations that helped pave the way for the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

“Lord Mayhew was a man of absolute integrity, devoted to the rule of law and a true gentleman in politics. He will be greatly missed.

“My sympathies are with his widow, Jean and his family at this time.”

At Prime Minister’s Questions on June 29, the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, led the tributes to Lord Mayhew, acknowledging his pivotal role in the Northern Ireland peace process.

This was repeated by David Cameron on several occasions as he praised his position not only as an excellent politician but also as a person.

At the debate, Sir Roger Gale added: “He was a scholar and a gentleman and a great friend to many of his younger colleagues.”

Communities Secretary Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, said: “Patrick Mayhew, an outstanding MP for Tunbridge Wells, former Secretary of State and friend has died. Much loved and respected, will be deeply missed.”

And Baroness Stowell of Beeston, Leader of the House of Lords, tweeted: “Very sad to hear Lord Mayhew of Twysden has died.

“As longest-serving SoS, he played a massive part in achieving peace in N.Ireland.

“As a friend & colleague, Paddy Mayhew was supportive, a great source of wisdom, and always fun to be with. Condolences to his family.”

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