Peter Brooke, a former Camden councillor and Northern Ireland secretary, has died aged 89.

The son of former home secretary Henry Brooke, he was born in Hampstead on March 3, 1934.

Mr Brooke first joined Camden Borough Council in 1968 and was well-known for quoting Latin and ancient Greek in council meetings.

Tributes have now been paid to Mr Brooke, who later became Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, by former prime minister Sir John Major and Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris.

Mr Heaton-Harris said on Twitter: “I was very sorry to learn of the passing of former NI Secretary, Lord Brooke.

“As one of my predecessors, Peter played a pivotal role in laying the foundations of the peace process.

“We are indebted to him for his public service working for the betterment of everyone in NI.”

Mr Brooke was educated at Marlborough, Balliol, Oxford University (where he was president of the Union) and Harvard Business School.

He later worked as Swiss correspondent of the Financial Times, a management consultant and as a director of a girls’ school in Switzerland, before joining Camden Borough Council in 1968.

He fought various seats, including Bedwellty against Neil Kinnock, before his election as MP for City of London and Westminster South in 1977.

He was appointed a whip in 1979 and became a junior education minister in 1983, with special responsibility for further and higher education.

In 1985 he became a Treasury minister of state, and was appointed paymaster general two years later.

In November 1987, he succeeded Norman Tebbit as party chairman and served as Northern Ireland secretary from 1989 to 1992.

In a speech in November 1990 he said Britain had “no selfish strategic or economic interest” in Northern Ireland, and would accept unification if the people wished it, a statement seen as a key step in the early peace process.

However, his reluctant singing of My Darling Clementine on RTE’s The Late Late Show in January 1992, in the immediate wake of the Co Tyrone massacre, seriously damaged relations with the unionist parties.

After the 1992 election, many of the signs pointed to the choice of Mr Brooke as the new Commons speaker, but Betty Boothroyd beat him to the chair.

He returned to Cabinet as secretary of state for national heritage shortly afterwards.

He finally left the Government in the prime minister’s reshuffle in the summer of 1994, and in 2001 he stepped down from the Commons and was given a life peerage.

Mr Brooke, known as P to friends and family, married Joan Margaret Smith in 1964. She died in 1985 following complications after a routine surgical procedure.

In 1991, he married Lindsay Allinson, a former constituency agent he met through the Conservative Party.

He had four sons from his first marriage, one of whom died before him.

Some reporting by PA.