Cameron 'threatened recklessly' the north's 2010 peace talks, Clinton aide claimed

An aide to Hillary Clinton, pictured with David Cameron, accused the prime minister of "threatening recklessly" the success of the north's political talks in 2010. Picture by AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer Pool
John Monaghan

DAVID Cameron is described as "threatening recklessly" the Northern Ireland peace process, just months before he became prime minister, an aide to US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claimed.

The comments are contained in a series of emails between Mrs Clinton and her adviser Sydney Blumenthal discussing the negotiations in 2010, which resulted in the Stormont House Agreement and the installation of the north's first justice minister since the Troubles.

At the time, the future prime minister was heading into a general election after forming an electoral alliance with the Ulster Unionists.

The comments are contained in the latest batch of emails from Hillary Clinton's private server released by the US Department of State.

The email from Mr Blumenthal in January 2010 reports that then secretary of state Shaun Woodward had contacted him to say talks between Brian Cowen and Gordon Brown had broken off without agreement.

Mr Blumenthal wrote: "Cameron has intervened, threatening recklessly to destroy a generation of work, in order potentially to gain marginal seats in NI in case of a hung parliament. Secret meetings were held at a country house of NI Unionists and Tories."

Reg Empey, Ulster Unionist leader at the time, was also heavily criticised in the memos for opposing the 2010 transfer of justice and policing matters.

In March 2010, Mr Blumenthal wrote that Shaun Woodward told him that Empey's opposition to the deal was "not wait and see - this is entirely disingenuous by Reg, who is more than aware that one of the five who voted against this today is a UUP Assembly member David McNarry."

Mr Blumenthal added: "It is unclear what is going on with Cameron. Is he actually pushing for the agreement or not? If he is, does he have any influence? Either Cameron is purposefully not being strong with Empey or he is being spurned, making calls."

Mrs Clinton went on to joke: "Empey probably seeing glass 'half empey.'"

The then US foreign secretary took a keen interest in the 2012 meeting between Queen Elizabeth and Martin McGuinness in Belfast, which saw the pair shake hands for the first time.

Sent news clippings of the event, the US presidential candidate replied: "Here's my question - did Prince Philip follow suit?"

Prince Philip was also filmed shaking hands with Mr McGuinness at the event in June 2012 at the Lyric Theatre.


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