Belfast Telegraph

Phil Coulter turned down OBE because of Thatcher stance on hunger strikes and miners

Phil Coulter performs at Feile in Clonard Monastery, west Belfast on August 6th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott)
Phil Coulter performs at Feile in Clonard Monastery, west Belfast on August 6th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Londonderry singer-songwriter Phil Coulter has revealed that he turned down an OBE due to his personal feelings towards former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The 77-year-old explained that he would not have felt "comfortable" accepting the honour due to Mrs Thatcher's handling of the 1981 hunger strikes and the miner's strike in 1984/85.

Speaking on RTE's Late Late Show on Friday night, Mr Coulter said he received a letter from 10 Downing Street in the 1980s stating the Prime Minister wanted to recommend him to the Queen for an OBE and asking him if he would accept it.

He said: "There was one part of my ego that was flattered to have been offered an honour bur deep down in my heart’s core I thought this doesn’t sit comfortably with me given my background.

"Given the fact that back then Maggie Thatcher would not have been my favourite politician, given the way she had reacted through the hunger strikes, the way she had treated the miners during the miners' strike . . .

"I thought for me to accept an honour from this woman would somehow be tantamount to me saying she’s okay by me, I’m on her team and I wasn’t. So I thought, you know what? My ego is in good enough shape so I don’t need this OBE so I apologised and declined."

Other celebrities who turned down honours from the Queen include David Bowie and John Cleese.

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