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I've no interest in reading book of the Brighton bomber, says Lord Tebbit


The Grand Hotel in Brighton after it was bombed in 1984

The Grand Hotel in Brighton after it was bombed in 1984

Patrick Magee

Patrick Magee

Lord Tebbit

Lord Tebbit

The Grand Hotel in Brighton after it was bombed in 1984

One of Margaret Thatcher's top ministers, who was seriously injured in the Brighton hotel bombing of 1984, said his priority remains looking after his wife, not reading the memories of the man who caused her injuries.

Convicted bomber Patrick Magee will be releasing his memoirs in September.

Where Grieving Begins will chronicle Magee’s early years in Belfast and England, his time in the IRA, and his later involvement in the peace process and reconciliation.

“If you have been involved in causing injury and suffering there is an obligation, a moral imperative, to address past actions, to reappraise, to reflect and, when circumstances allow, to explain,” Patrick Magee said.

But Lord Norman Tebbit, now 88, who was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in Thatcher’s government at the time of the bombing, said he is still not prepared to forgive Magee, despite the bomber’s apparent commitment to peace and reconciliation in recent years.

The bombing on October 12, 1984, ripped apart the Grand Hotel in Brighton during the Conservative Party conference.

Its target was the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. She survived, but five other people were killed and many more injured, including Lord Tebbit and his wife, Margaret, who remains in ill health, having been paralysed since the bombing.

“Patrick Magee was allowed to get away with his terrorist crimes and I’ll certainly not be buying his book, nor reading it in any form,” Lord Tebbit told the Belfast Telegraph. “I do suspect he will be triumphant in his lauding his crimes since he has never shown any remorse.

“I would of course be interested in listening if he was to come forward to apologise for his actions. He never has and I have no interest in what he has to say about his crimes.”

Anthony Berry MP, Roberta Wakeham, Eric Taylor, Muriel Maclean and Jeanne Shattock were all killed in the bombing.

A committed member of the IRA for 27 years, Magee was jailed in 1986 but released under the Good Friday Agreement in 1999.

He now regularly appears in public alongside Mr Berry’s daughter, Jo, discussing peace and reconciliation.

But Lord Tebbit said: “He has never repented for his sins and without repentance there can be no forgiveness.

“He makes a living by going around talking about these things, but he’s done nothing to put any of it right.”

In his book, Magee recounts the influences and events of his life, the Troubles and the peace process.

Publishers Pluto Press added: “This memoir is an attempt to build a bridge to a common understanding. It is written in the belief that much is possible, even in the face of profound differences, when there is a genuine commitment to honesty, inclusion and dialogue.”

It includes personal memories of Gerry Adams and other central figures in Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA.

Victim’s campaigner Kenny Donaldson said it will have an impact on those who suffered.

“No former terrorist should financially benefit as a result of telling a story of how they came to be involved in violence,” said Mr Donaldson.

“If the book’s overarching narrative is one of acceptance that there was no legitimacy or justification for the use of violence in the furtherance of or defence of a political objective, then the publication would have value.”

Belfast Telegraph