FORMER Northern Ireland secretary Peter Mandelson has said that the only thing Margaret Thatcher told him was that the Irish were “all liars” and could not to be trusted.
He revealed details of the 1999 exchange yesterday as he explained why he did not want to attend the former Prime Minister’s funeral on Wednesday.
Mandelson – who served as Tony Blair’s Northern Ireland secretary between 1999 and 2001 – told the BBC: “Although I helped to organise the Labour Party’s opposition to her policies throughout the 1980s, I only ever met her once. It was the day I was appointed Northern Ireland secretary and our paths crossed,” he said.
“She came up to me and she said, ‘I’ve got one thing to say to you, my boy…you can’t trust the Irish, they are all liars’, she said, ‘liars, and that’s what you have to remember, so just don’t forget it.
“With that she waltzed off and that was my only personal exposure to her.”
Baroness Thatcher’s funeral took place in London on Wednesday and was attended by a number of Irish politicians.
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson represented the Northern Ireland Assembly at the service and was joined by Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt and Alliance Party MP Naomi Lon. Irish Education Minister Ruairí Quinn also attended.