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Saturday, 9 September, 2000, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
Mo Mowlam to stand down - Your views

One of the most popular politicians in recent memory, Mo Mowlam, is to retire at the next general election.

Loved by members of the Labour Party, some think she became a victim of her own success with reports of behind-the-scenes whispering campaigns against her.

But the Labour Party insists that it is a career decision and that Ms Mowlam intends to remain a Cabinet Office Minister until the election.

What do you think? Send us your views on Mo Mowlam's retirement.

This debate is now closed. Your views:

How many British politicians can claim to have actually changed the lives of so many for the better?

Simon, Scotland
It amazes me that anyone can describe Dr Mowlam's amazing achievements in grasping the "Irish Question" and doing so much to consolidate the peace process as anything other than Labour's greatest (perhaps only) success, especially after the Tories hopeless handling of the issue. While many may disagree with her actions, she has contributed much to a genuine change in Northern Irish society. How many British politicians can claim to have actually changed the lives of so many for the better?
Simon, Scotland

Mo Mowlam was instrumental in brokering the Good Friday Agreement. It may not be perfect, but imperfect peace is better than any conflict. I can only assume that those who have said here that she was not effective in NI must either be intransigent Tories or Unionists opposed to David Trimble.
Colin, England

Thank God that awful woman has gone at last. She was completely out of her depth in every job she was given. She can now retire to her comfy sofas of the chat show world where she belongs, away from real politics. Goodbye to her, and it'll be goodbye to the rest of them come the next General Election.
Antony Little, Uxbridge, Middx

I'm sorry Mo is going - she is one of the few politicians with any sense of integrity.
Diana, UK

She would make an ideal school headmistress in a quiet English village

James, UK
Mo Mowlam was undoubtedly a person of immense amiability. However, that was her only real asset. She would make an ideal school headmistress in a quiet English village.
James, UK

I will not miss Mo Mowlam at all. She has been ineffective in all the ministerial posts given to her, evident by the huge strides each successor makes after she departs. The people of Britain deserve far better than this - they want RESULTS. Shame she doesn't just go now and call a by-election.
Gavin Pearson, USA

What a truly brave lady. I'm no Labour supporter but what a shining example to everyone for her courage and commitment to the job in hand.
Kay Harris, England

The truth is that Mo Mowlam has been a terrible politician. She is open, straight-talking, cares more about people than her reputation, has a great sense of fun and above all is honest. Why can't she be more like the MPs we're used to? Two-faced, smug, self-serving morons.
Bruce Waite, UK

One can only conclude that Blair has an extremely old-fashioned attitude towards women

Tom Holt, UK
It is interesting that Blair has now removed all competent women from serious political influence, with one exception - Clare Short. Assuming that the men who replaced them are not immeasurably superior (do me a favour!), one can only conclude that Blair has an extremely old-fashioned attitude towards women. This is possibly the only thing that will allow the Tories, with their fatuous leader, to win the next election.
Tom Holt, UK

Accepting her current position over that of health secretary was a huge mistake. I regret not seeing the exchanges at the dispatch box with the opposition, making them look such fools with her delivery. She would have been wonderful. Maybe she'll reconsider.
Simon Coppin, Britain

Am I missing something? To me, she always appeared scruffy, disorganised and inarticulate.
Peter McLean, UK

Honest, approachable, humorous, spin-free, all of these qualities make her totally unsuitable for this government.
John Kelly, England

No wonder the Unionists didn't like her, she was the first N. Irish Secretary to stand up to them

Joe Darcy, UK
Of course she was shafted. Why? For being more popular than Teflon Tony. It is no wonder the Unionists didn't like her, she was the first N. Irish Secretary to stand up to them. It was a disgrace how Blair undermined her by allowing the Unionists to come running to him whenever they didn't get their way. Mo Mowlam's departure will be a sad day for British politics.
Joe Darcy, UK

Sure she is a nice well-meaning person but no real political nouse or vision, much like her party colleagues. I imagine she will be looking for something suitable in the media world now. May I suggest a Blue Peter presenter as the NI post was a tad too hot for her to handle....mind you, who could handle that particular poisoned chalice?
Mike, UK

Used and abused.
Adam, UK

Many women must be seriously disillusioned with a party which cannot accommodate a woman of this calibre

M. O'Connor, UK
So that's what the boys think? It would be nice to know whether other women are as devastated as I am by the resignation of Mo. Is there really no place in a British government for an honest, open, highly intelligent and witty politician who laid the groundwork for peace in Ireland and who was a role model for girls and women? Blair's male control freaks have won again, the whole country is the poorer and many women must be seriously disillusioned with a party which cannot accommodate a woman of this calibre.
M. O'Connor, UK

Despite making a few poorly chosen comments regarding the monarchy, she has proved herself to be an adept politician who in my opinion has won particular fondness in Ireland for her role in the peace process.
Michael, Ireland

UK politics will be the poorer without Mo Mowlam. Her courage in Northern Ireland was great and, while she may not have had a great grasp of detail, she was the driving force that made the peace process happen. We will miss her and so will the Labour Party, only they don't know it yet.
Stephen Edwards, UK

The less she has to do with the running of the country, the better

Alex S, UK
Thank goodness. She was hopeless in N. Ireland and even more so when she was brought back here. The less she has to do with the running of the country, the better. Now we just need to get rid of the rest of them!
Alex S, UK

A very unusual creature - a highly principled politician. She was right about the monarchy too.
Mike, UK

New Labour kept telling us how popular Mowlam was, goodness knows where they got that information. I suppose relatively popular as opposed to Mandelson might work. She was inept and populist, which sums up Blair and his team as a whole.
If she is bleating about being briefed against she should remember the adage, if you sit down with a chimney sweep you are going to stand up dirty. I suspect the only people who will miss her will be the Ulster Republicans.
Keith Stuart, England

It's good to see how many people on this list value popularity over political substance. I will always remember Mo as a bumbling and ineffectual politician.
Chris, England

She's no worse than Tony and Peter for putting nothing back into safe Teesside seats

Andrew, UK
As someone who grew up in her constituency, and whose family still lives there, I have mixed feelings. With her political clout she might have helped improve one of the UK's worst unemployment blackspots but of course little has changed in her time. Perhaps a lower-profile MP will produce better results. Mind you, she's no worse than Tony and Peter for putting nothing back into safe Teesside seats.
Andrew, UK

Good luck Mo in your retirement - the Labour party will miss you more than they realise. I think the Government should stop and think about what they are doing to the party itself and the rank and file members. I am an ordinary Labour supporter who is seriously thinking about changing my vote come the next election.
Bridget, UK

On a personal level, it was the only decision she could take. How could she possibly carry on with No 10 questioning her abilities and, most disgustingly, her health after she battled so bravely against her brain tumour?
Tim, UK

I hope that we will hear more from this remarkable lady and wish her all the best for the future.
Nic, England

Mo Mowlam could see through the self-interest groups in NI. Of course, she made enemies there, who wouldn't? Britain and Ireland are better places for the ordinary person because of her time in office.
P. Whelan, Norway

I met Mo once, and didn't realise who she was until afterwards! I just thought she was this really kind and genuine lady. I'm sure everybody in the House will miss her generosity of spirit and the sense of perspective that she brought to Parliament.
Matthew Bryant, UK

As someone born and bred in Redcar, I am absolutely delighted to hear of her retirement. Two things will stand out from her time in politics, The Good Friday Agreement where 400 hardened terrorists were freed for nothing in return and very little work done for Redcar itself while she was our MP - it's more deprived than ever.
Graham, England

Such a pity that the only genuine peoples person is leaving. For all her failings, she showed the she was the only man in the cabinet with her approach to Ulster politics, along with her sincere commitment to achieving a peace deal. She should be nominated for the Nobel peace prize.
Simon Magill, England

Why does she still offer unswerving support for a bunch who did the dirty on her?

Adam, UK
Phoney Tony and crew stabbed Mo Mowlam in the back, and everyone knows it. So why won't she tell the truth about this? Why does she still offer unswerving support for a bunch who did the dirty on her, and the rest of the country?
Adam, UK

How can the Labour Party allow such a famous and fun politician to quit? Love her or hate her, she is one of the few British politicians known all over Europe.
Alex Aquilina, Netherlands

She was the backbone of an invertebrate government.
Vernon Bigg, UK

We pay too much attention to people like Mo Mowlam

Alan Cameron, Scotland
If any of are honest, do we really care what happens to Mo Mowlam? She is a ruthless politician who probably stamped on a few underlings on her way to the top. What sort of people idolise the qualities displayed by politicians?
We pay too much attention to people like Mo Mowlam, and endow them with some kind of mystique they do not deserve. We all know some old woman who gives 50 hours a week to a charity shop - surely she is warm hearted and caring - but receives no publicity like the self seeking politicians.
Alan Cameron, Scotland

One of the politicians whom one could believe. What a combination - integrity and political brilliance.
Tony, UK

It's a shame she hasn't stayed to fight her corner

Dylan Williams, Wales, UK
The most worrying aspect of this whole thing is the rather obvious way that Blair (And Mandelson) have tried to sideline her over the last year or so. Its been open news that there has been a whispering campaign against her in the upper echelons of the Labour party and it all seems to stem from her popularity compared to the likes or Blair and Mandelson. It's a shame she hasn't stayed to fight her corner.
Dylan Williams, Wales, UK

Mo didn't seem to fit the New Labour mould and has paid the price. A lot of the things she said Labour would love to do but hasn't the guts to carry out.
Andrew, United Kingdom

I'm sure all her friends in Sinn Fein/IRA will miss her contribution to the "Peace Process".
Peter, UK

She should be the first of many to resign

John McGowan, UK
I wish Ms Mowlam well in her new career. Pity she didn't take the opportunity earlier; like before the 1997 election. Perhaps then the disastrous N.I. policy would not have resulted in the release of so many thugs back on to the streets of N.I. She should be the first of many to resign.
John McGowan, UK

Good luck Mo! I'm a great admirer. A rare politician who is honest and willing to speak her mind even when it does not fit with the modern, new labour message.
Our politics now, like much else is designed to fit the TV image of events, broken up into short sound bites with no depth or substance.
Pete K, UK

She showed courage and goodwill and contributed to what will be soon a lasting peace

Tom, Ireland
Mo Mowlam was not prepared to let past failed policies of Northern Ireland, nor the local bullying tactics drive her off course. She showed courage and goodwill and contributed to what will be soon a lasting peace. Well done Mo.
Tom, Ireland

Mo Mowlam shows us all the way to live your life and conduct a political existence with conviction and competence. I like to see her as our next P.M. but she's to honourable to hold that office.
Max Blinkhorn, UK

If she worked for a private company she would have been fired long ago

Steve Dooley, England
I am completely baffled by Mo Mowlam's popularity in this country. All she has ever done, as far as I can see, is to negotiate a completely incompetent "agreement" in Northern Ireland which gave up all her key negotiating cards in return for some vague promises from someone who claimed to speak for the IRA.
Result: terrorists in government, no arms decommissioned, and hundreds of convicted terrorists back on the street. Resignation? If she worked for a private company she would have been fired long ago.
Steve Dooley, England

Mo Mowlam was a breath of fresh air for being outspoken and true to her beliefs. She will be missed for her dedication and successes despite spiteful and childish whispering from supposed colleagues who like to project that they work as a team. Good luck Mo you deserve further success. I for one will miss you.
Janet Wood, England

I think Mo is in a class of her own

V. Rudrasingham, Wales
I think Mo is in a class of her own. She was the only politician for a long time who had a real sense of humour and one of the few who told it like it was.
V. Rudrasingham, Wales

I wish Mo Mowlam well as an individual and hope she fully recovers from her illness. However, as a politician she was the wrong person for the Northern Ireland job and her recent comments attacking the Monarchy will not be missed!
Richard Willis, UK

An unprincipled half-rate politician who sadly resorted to playing her own health card to gain popularity.
Neil, England

In a country largely bored with and untrusting of its politicians, Mo Mowlam was uniquely principled, straightforward and hence popular. When will New Labour have the nerve to learn this lesson?
Rich, UK

A victim of her own success? Don't make me laugh! Mowlam was inept during her time here in Ulster. Distrusted by both sides, all the main players were forced to go directly to Tony Blair to resolve any issue of substance. She undoubtedly has her eye on a media-type role which should suit someone who has shown a superficial grasp of most issues and proved to be something of a fraud.
Colin, Northern Ireland

Politics will go back to being boring!
PJ, England

At the end of the day it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference to anything. Anyone who thinks that there is the slightest difference between any of the current political parties in the UK is living in a fool's dream.
Justin Morgan, Hungary

I am sad to hear that Mo is leaving though perhaps it is in the best interests of all concerned. While she was not the most thoughtful member of the Cabinet, she did have a rare ability to connect with the average man/ woman in the street. A bad day for the people who do not care about real politics.
Brian Fletcher, Scotland

What do you expect after she upstaged Tony Blair at the party conference. Ever since it's been handbags at 20 paces.
Mac, Scotland

The truth is that being warm and cuddly doesn't make you a good politician

Janan Ganesh, UK
The truth is that being warm and cuddly doesn't make you a good politician and that is why people of genuine ability like Mandelson and Blair will always be of more value to the Labour Party than Mowlam ever was.
Janan Ganesh, UK

I have no time for Mo Mowlam but she's better than most of her party. Given the choice I'd rather see Blair, Mandelson, Brown, Prescott and Beckett resign and keep Mowlam.
John B, UK

Blundering through politics with all the charm of an elephant stampede was always going to make Mowlam a lot of enemies. Although she spoke her mind, her controversial and ill-judged comments caused a lot of trouble and she's done herself a favour by seeking pastures new.
Paul R, UK

I, as an Irish national, am gutted to hear of her moving out of government, one of the few shining lights in UK politics. She is much loved on both sides of the border. Thanks Mo for burning bright amongst your cohorts. Slan
Dermot Peachey, England

This is just another example of Blairite associations with Macbeth. Tony has simply done away with Mowlam like he did with Dobson. Mowlam may not have been brilliant for Northern Ireland, but she was and still is, a popular figure within the Labour Party.
Matt, UK

Ms Mowlam was the best Northern Ireland secretary that I can remember in my short life (I'm 21) and she brought a lot to the peace process in Northern Ireland.
Rajnish Bhaskar, Northern Ireland (currently living in Scotland)

Mo Mowlam is my favourite politician ever. I am only 11 and a half years old but I have already been inspired by her work in Northern Ireland, even if it didn't actually work in the end. Her retirement will create a bigger hole in British politics than already exists.
K.I. Erkegaard, Sweden

If she were ever to have put her self forward for leader of the Labour party she would have ended up as Prime Minister

Tom, T, UK
What a farce! Everyone knows that Mo is more popular than TB - she is a woman of immense talent which sadly British politics will no longer have the privilege of drawing upon. I would hasten to predict that if she were ever to have put her self forward for leader of the Labour party she would have ended up as Prime Minister and would have drawn substantial cross-party support both in Parliament and throughout the UK.
The TB machine would never allow her to be in a position where she could capitalise on her immense popularity. My hunch is that TB moved her from NI into her current (pathetic) post in the hope that she would get out - how right he was - Goodbye Mo - it's OUR loss!
Tom, T, UK

Thank God for that, maybe the rest of the Labour Party will stand down before the next election and save us the trouble of voting them out...
Rick Davis, UK

It's a shame that Mo Mowlam feels that she no longer has a role to pay in politics. She has taken on a range of portfolios and shown herself to be just as competent as any man. However she can been assured of being a role model for future female politicians.
In the end though, the boys club around the PM destroyed her with an incessant whispering campaign. The PM knew this was going on, but did nothing to stop it. Is he really that attention-seeking to begrudge Mo Mowlam her dues?
I wish her well in her future life, but ask only one thing more - be as honest with the public as you were in private. Tell us the real reason for leaving.
Mike Richards, UK

This woman has been nothing but a menace

James Jeffrey, USA
Good Riddance. This woman has been nothing but a menace, first as Northern Ireland Secretary and now in her current position. I for one will be glad to see the back of her.
James Jeffrey, USA, but English

Most of all, Mo Mowlam showed how a woman's fresh intelligence, informality and energy can transform a problem situation.
Paul Walter, United Kingdom

Mo Mowlam was the best thing to happen to Northern Ireland in decades. Politicians in the Province had no idea how to handle a Secretary of State that was more popular than they were. That's why she was able to progress matters so far. Unfortunately the politicians and others within her Party do know how to handle someone else's popularity and that is why she is bowing out.
Peter Ishu, UK

She is possibly the only politician with any credibility

Farhat Din, UK
I can't help but think she's been pushed by Blair's supporters. What they don't realise is that her popularity could help them where Blair's soundbites can't. She is possibly the only politician with any credibility. Her openness, honesty and wit will be missed.
Farhat Din, UK

I have never been a Labour supporter but I have nothing but admiration for Ms Mowlam. I think she will be remembered for her blunt common sense, her courage, her obvious intellect and her ability to maintain a sense of humour. She stands out as a truly able politician among a superficial and lightweight cabinet. I wish her well.

Such a shame to see a popular, principled politician go. I look forward to her next venture.
Gordon Woods, UK

Is she really retiring, or has she had enough of the whispering?? By all accounts Blair has never forgiven her for being more popular than he. Let's hope a book reveals all the sordid details!!
Andy, UK

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See also:

04 Sep 00 | UK Politics
Mowlam to stand down
02 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Mowlam: Follett claims are rubbish
11 Nov 99 | UK Politics
Mowlam: 'I'm fed up'
11 Feb 99 | Latest News
Mowlam honoured for peace role
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