Belfast Telegraph

Ex-Tory minister Brian Mawhinney recalls his Belfast days in memoirs


His memoirs may have been entitled Just A Simple Belfast Boy, but Brian Mawhinney has led an eventful life by anyone's standards.

Born into a conservative Christian family on the Belmont Road in Belfast, he would eventually reach the heights of British politics as a Government minister before becoming chairman of The Football League.

Today the Belfast Telegraph carries an exclusive extract from Just A Simple Belfast Boy ahead of its release on Wednesday.

"It's a story book," said the 72-year-old. "It's about the things I got right and the things I got wrong, but it's not a heavy politician's autobiography."

First elected in 1979, he entered the Thatcher government as a junior Northern Ireland minister in 1986 and there are a few stories in the book about the late prime minister. "I got to know Thatcher quite well," he said.

"She initially appointed me and sent me, at Tom King's request, to Northern Ireland in the first place.

"When I became party chairman to John Major there was a certain amount of tension between the two big beasts. I spent many hours talking to her about matters I have never spoken of before, but deal with in the book."

Now Baron Mawhinney of Peterborough, putting integrated education on the statute books and his involvement in the process that led to the Belfast Agreement are sources of pride.

"I'm very fortunate and feel very privileged. I have enjoyed everything I have done over the years," he said. "But when I look back on things that gave me particular satisfaction they relate to Northern Ireland, rather than at the top of national government."


Brian Mawhinney (72) was born in Belfast in 1940. He was elected MP for Peterborough in 1979, then North West Cambridgeshire from 1997. He became Minister of State at the NIO in 1990. He later joined John Major's Cabinet as transport secretary. He also served as chairman of the Tory Party and minister without portfolio until quitting as a MP in 2005.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph