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Paisley told Blair ‘he was fool to become Catholic’

Former PM Tony Blair and wife Cherie are Roman Catholics. Picture: AFP/Getty

Former PM Tony Blair and wife Cherie are Roman Catholics. Picture: AFP/Getty

  • by DAVID YOUNG
 

Ian Paisley has claimed he told Tony Blair he was a fool when the former prime minister informed him he was converting to Catholicism.

The founder of the Free Presbyterian Church and long-time critic of the papacy in Rome said Mr Blair revealed his decision to him as they left a private meeting together in 2007.

“As we were walking down the stairs he stopped, he looked back at me and he said ‘Ian there is something I need to tell you’,” the 87-year-old former Stormont first minister said.

“’When the hands of that clock’, and he pointed to a big clock that was on the wall, ‘When the hands of that clock, when they come to eight o’clock I will be a Roman Catholic’.

“And he said ‘I didn’t want you to leave without telling you, I’d rather tell you myself’.

“And I said ‘You are a fool’ and I walked on.”

In a new BBC documentary reflecting on his career in politics, Dr Paisley said he and Mr Blair would often talk about religion, with the former Labour leader telling him how his grandfather was an Orangeman and his grandmother was a strong supporter of Dr Paisley’s firebrand politics.

Mr Blair married Catholic lawyer Cherie Booth in 1980 and converted to Catholicism in 2007.

 

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