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Wednesday, 24 January, 2001, 14:20 GMT
Mandelson's resignation statement
This is the text of Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson's resignation statement:


I am today resigning from the government and wish to set out the background to my decision.

I do not accept in any way that I have acted improperly in respect of any application for naturalisation as a British subject.

I do accept, however, that when my office spoke to a Sunday newspaper at the weekend, I should have been clear that it was me personally, not my official, who spoke to the Home Office minister.

As a result of that reply, incorrect information was given to the House by the culture secretary and to the Press by the prime minister's official spokesman.

I accept responsibility for that. I have said to the prime minister that I wish to leave the government and he has accepted that.

I would only ask people to understand that my sole desire and motivation throughout was to emphasise that I had not sought to influence the decision on naturalisation in any way at all, merely to pass on a request for information and the prime minister is entirely satisfied with this.

I confess in reaching my decision, that there is another factor.

As a reading of today's newspapers shows all too graphically, there must be more to politics than the constant media pressure and exposure that has dogged me over the last five or so years.

I want to remove myself from the countless stories of controversy, of feuds of divisions and all the rest, all the other stories that have surrounded me.

I want in other words, to lead a more normal life, both in politics and in the future outside.

That is my decision and I hope that everyone will understand and respect it.

Finally it has been the greatest privilege of my political life to play a part in the peace process in Northern Ireland, something far bigger and more important that any one individual or his career.

We are so close now to a final settlement, to a complete implementation of this government's, as well as others' achievement, the Good Friday Agreement.

I only hope and pray that everything that we have worked for and the parties in Northern Ireland have worked for now comes to pass and I wish the people in Northern Ireland every success and peace in the future and I thank them for their kindness to me.

The prime minister has asked me to do Northern Ireland questions in the House this afternoon. I shall then listen to Prime Minister's questions and then formally I will resign from the government.


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24 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Mandelson resigns
24 Jan 01 | UK Politics
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24 Jan 01 | UK Politics
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