Mo lied

A personal tragedy but was it also a public scandal? Looking back, despite the effing and blinding at unionists and huggy kissy for the bugged McGuinness, I doubt if her condition made much difference to what happened. It doesn’t change my verdict that she blew a gale of fresh air into the stuffy male chauvinist circles of NI politics. Keeping this terrible secret from everybody except her husband must have added greatly to her burden, yet she had the time of her life. But her secret exposes a powerful argument for compulsory health checks for everybody in high office.

Glaser, who is now chief of cancer services at the Imperial College NHS Trust, said he felt a heavy sense of responsibility as Mowlam took up the post of Northern Ireland secretary, in charge of the peace process, denying the existence of a debilitating condition that he expected would kill her within three years.

“A frontal lobe tumour can cause disinhibition, behavioural disturbance and poor judgment,” he told McKay. “And there she was taking up a job in what was effectively a war situation. But there was nothing I could do. I was her doctor. I was responsible for her care, even if she wouldn’t let me keep records in the proper places or write to her GP.”

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London