Blair wanted to explore option of Queen opening Stormont Assembly

Tony Blair wants to investigate how the Queen will officially launch the New Northern Ireland Convention in 1998, the latest official documents.

The Prime Minister of Labor was concerned that it would be a “difficult issue” on the country’s agenda and asked one of his ministers to briefly and secretly to SDLP leader Seamus Mallon.

Northern Ireland’s secretary of state Mo Mowlam later said it would help “settle disputes” if the views did not lead to the Queen’s participation.

More information can be found in the letters at the Public Record Office in Belfast. Hundreds of files are now open for public view under 30/20.

The Stormont Convention was established in 1998, with the first election held in June and the first in July.

However, the Summit should be held in the absence of the delegated power until December 1999, mainly due to political disputes over the removal of IRA weapons.

The newly released papers reveal a letter from John Holmes, secretary general of secrecy to Mr Blair, to Nick Perry at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) on September 21 1998 when he raised the Queen’s chance to open a parliament in Stormont.

He wrote: “The Prime Minister acknowledges that we cannot assume that he will always be a sleeping dog.

“However, they do not believe that it would be appropriate for the Queen to open Parliament and they do not agree that we should try to stop this ourselves.

“However, he is aware that this is a sensitive issue for worldly thinking.”

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble then addresses the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont as the first day of the conference begins (Brian Little / PA) (PA Wire)

The letter adds: “It is therefore believed that as a first step Paul Murphy (NIO minister) should speak to Seamus Mallon privately about plans to open, citing The Queen’s potential, but without political interference, before talking to (David.) Any reduction or move. .

“We can get it out of there, based on what Seamus did.”

A letter from Labor Chief Jonathan Stephens stated he had a meeting with Mo Mowlam on the matter.

He said: “He was satisfied with the line taken by No. 10.

“But he also said it would help to resolve conflicts if we were willing to come up with strong and positive ideas about devolution of power in Parliament in ways that did not involve the Queen’s participation – for example, children’s choirs, and so on.”

Then pay attention and turn to the difficulties that existed within the newly formed Conference on the dismissal of the IRA and the refusal of former Prime Minister David Trimble to allow Sinn Fein to join the shadow chief until the weapons were used.

Former NI Secretary of State Mowlam wanted to find a way to open a Stormont parliament that did not affect the Queen (PA) (PA Wire)

A letter from Holmes in September stated: “Dr Mowlam has expressed his concern that the responsibilities are growing in all areas of the crisis related to layoffs and the creation of a major image.

“No Trimble or (Sinn Fein Gerry president) Adams showed no signs of moving.”

It adds: “The Prime Minister said he was ready to talk to Adams and Trimble. He thought it was possible for the agreement, based on negotiations with (then Bertie of Ireland) Ahern, to be sold.

“Sinn Fein and the IRA can clearly say that there will be a real removal, although nothing happened before the appointment of Shadow Leader.

“This may be accompanied by a schedule or period indicating that there has been a dismissal prior to the appointment of the actual Leader.

“What was clear was that Trimble would not allow Sinn Fein to become a Shadow Guard without a real move in retiring.”

Several files relate to the preparations for the launch of the new Assembly, and concerns about accommodation in the Stormont estate.

A statement from a government official stated: “It is clear that the chambers of Parliament are not adequate to meet the needs of the First and Second Ministers, their special offices, special advisers and civil servants, who will form the basis of the Cabinet. for the government. Leadership department (whether large or small, in the shade or in the direction of good management).

“I think we should fix some things we can think of with Messrs Trimble and Mallon, but first we have to discuss what is possible.”

Another civil service memo states that Mr Trimble’s Stormont office was nowhere to be found for its television.

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