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Tebbit pulls no punches, but other victim less harsh

By Claire O'Boyle

Veteran Tory Norman Tebbit said he hoped Martin McGuinness is "parked in a particularly hot and unpleasant corner of hell for the rest of eternity".

Tebbit's wife Margaret was paralysed when the IRA bombed a Brighton hotel during the Conservative Party conference in 1984. However, Jo Berry, whose Conservative MP father Sir Anthony Berry was killed in the bombing, said Mr McGuinness should be remembered for his efforts to build peace.

She said: "Today is a day to really appreciate what McGuinness has achieved. His legacy is one of reconciliation and peace-building, which is always going to be messy and difficult after a conflict. Despite that, he showed us how to move forward and showed us a way where former enemies can work together for the peace of the whole. What we have now is so much better than what I grew up in. What we have now is peace."

Earlier, 85-year-old Lord Tebbit described former IRA commander Mr McGuinness as a "coward" and insisted he had only turned to peace to "save his own skin".

He said: "I'm just pleased that the world is a sweeter and cleaner place now. He was not only a multi-murderer, he was a coward.

"He knew that the IRA were defeated because British intelligence had penetrated right the way up to the army council and that the end was coming. He then sought to save his own skin. He knew that it was likely he would be charged before long with several murders which he had personally committed, and he decided that the only thing to do was to opt for peace. He claimed to be a Roman Catholic. I hope that his beliefs turn out to be true and he'll be parked in a particularly hot and unpleasant corner of hell for the rest of eternity."

The 1984 Brighton bombing of the Grand Hotel killed five and left many injured.

Lord Tebbit said he refused to forgive Mr McGuinness for his terrorist past because "forgiveness requires confession of sins and repentance. There was none of that".

Peace activist Ms Berry reacted by tweeting: "Tebbit not speaking for all, I value Martin McGuinness as an inspiring example of peace and reconciliation. I lost my dad in the Brighton bomb."

She later added the post was "not meant to judge".

She said: "Firstly, I really understand his reaction. If I had more space on Twitter, I would have said that. It was not meant to judge him at all.

"I wanted to talk about how far Northern Ireland has moved on. (Martin McGuinness') legacy of reconciliation will live on. He lived and worked with former enemies, and for that I admire him."

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