Blair’s OTR role brought into question

Tony Blair
Tony Blair
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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s claim that the OTR scheme was crucial to the peace process has been questioned by a number of the MPs who conducted an inquiry into the contentious process.

When he gave evidence to the committee in January, Mr Blair insisted the delicately balanced political process could have collapsed without the scheme, which was a key Sinn Fein demand.

But chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Laurence Robertson said he was not convinced the OTR process was a “deal breaker” for Sinn Fein.

Democratic Unionist MP Ian Paisley Jnr went further: “I think this is very much the emperor wearing no clothes when it comes to the point ‘well, if we hadn’t done this, peace would have fallen apart’.

“I think that disguises or hides nothing - I think that is just an excuse and it’s an excuse that’s very useful, probably more convenient here on the mainland if you don’t follow the detail of the process, and has been used expertly by the emperor.