Government Papers: Tony Blair’s appointment of Peter Mandelson as NI Secretary was a significant move, diplomats have advised

Irish diplomats were convinced that the appointment of Peter Mandelson as Secretary for Northern Ireland signaled that British Prime Minister Tony Blair expected great success in implementing the Good Friday Agreement.

But the government was also warned that one aspect of the choice of Mr Mandelson to succeed Mo Mowlam was that Mr Blair wanted to strengthen his own domestic political position
given the increasing influence of its powerful Chancellor, Gordon Brown.

Confidential briefing documents revealed Irish officials believed the election of Mr Mandelson as the new Secretary for Northern Ireland in October 1999 was very important.

Ireland’s Ambassador to the UK, Edward Barrington, wrote to Second Secretary of the Anglo-Irish Division Dermot Gallagher on October 11 that Mr Mandelson’s return to Cabinet was important.

“Peter Mandelson is a remarkable personality,” he guessed.

“He has a fine political brain, a strategic sense of where Labor should be going in Britain’s political life and an instinct for politics.”

Mr Mandelson – one of Mr Blair’s closest allies – resigned as Trade Secretary in December 1998 for failing to register an interest-free loan on the Register of Members of Westminster.

Mr Barrington said his return to Mr Blair’s cabinet was expected and was overdue.

“He is best known for his close association with Tony Blair and for leading Labor’s political and political renewal,” he wrote.

“As a Blairist, he will be a strong supporter of the Good Friday Agreement
and we can expect that he will work closely with Blair to achieve its implementation.

“In that respect, I imagine it differently
from the past 18 months or so, during which it was clear that Blair had lost faith in Mo Mowlam’s abilities and felt he had to embrace it
burden yourself too much.

“Given his closeness to Blair, his weight in the Labor Party and the role he is likely to play, I think we should move to a ministerial level meeting fairly quickly.” Government Papers: Tony Blair’s appointment of Peter Mandelson as NI Secretary was a significant move, diplomats have advised

Fry Electronics Team

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