Tony Blair was told to meet Orange Order to ‘influence’ Protestant voters

Declassified records also reveal John Major was worried loyalists would walk away from ceasefire in 1996

Adam Forrest
Political Correspondent
Thursday 29 December 2022 00:06 GMT
Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair
Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair (PA)

Tony Blair was encouraged to talk to Orange Order leaders in 1998 to “influence” Protestant voters who had yet to make up their minds about the Good Friday Agreement, declassified state papers reveal.

The Orange Order leadership had sought a meeting with the Labour prime minister after the signing of the historic peace agreement, but before the public on both sides of the Irish border had voted in a referendum.

Papers reveal that the order had held out for a face-to-face meeting with Mr Blair to express their concerns over the agreement.

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