Northern Ireland

Lord Molyneaux's 'close companion' tells of 'very loving relationship'

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Media captionChristopher Luke said he was Lord Molyneaux's close companion

A man who describes himself as the "close companion" of the late Ulster Unionist leader Lord Molyneaux has spoken of their relationship.

James Molyneaux died last year.

On the anniversary of his death, Christopher Luke, who is openly gay, told BBC Radio Ulster that the men had a very loving relationship.

Lord Molyneaux was an MP for almost 30 years and the leader of unionism for a decade and a half.

He was one of the most important politicians in Northern Ireland's recent history. He died aged 94 and the first anniversary of his death was this week.

Christopher Luke said he was Lord Molyneaux's close companion.

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Image caption James Molyneaux was a member of parliament for 27 years

In a newspaper tribute, he wrote: "You were very dear to me..... Your love for me was wonderful - more wonderful than the love of women."

The Irish News reproduced the memorial notice and published photographs on Friday.

Mr Luke also spoke to BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme. He said he felt the politician's legacy had been forgotten by unionism and loyalism.

"So many people these days seem to be airbrushing Jim from history, no doubt because he stood for the remainder of this life after the Good Friday Agreement was signed as steadfastly against it," he said.

A year on, Mr Luke said he still found the loss of James Molyneaux very difficult.

"I had a very loving relationship with Jim. I loved him as a brother. He will always have a place in my heart. There was love between us, but there are different forms of love."

Lord Molyneaux was the Ulster Unionist leader during some of Northern Ireland's most difficult years.

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