1. Exquisite Tweets from @StewartWood

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    THREAD: When Gordon Brown was PM, I was privileged to be his N Ireland adviser. We had crises galore, but only one over Nthn Ireland. 1/10

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    StewartWood

    Stewart Wood

    The deadline for devolution of justice & policing powers was due, but being held up by a bundle of disputes between the DUP & Sinn Fein 2/10

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    StewartWood

    Stewart Wood

    We had 3 sleepless days & nights holed up in Hillsborough Castle with the N Irish parties & the Taoiseach, trying to hammer out a deal. 3/10

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    StewartWood

    Stewart Wood

    Each party had their own room in Hillsborough. Diplomacy was shuttled, via an interminable cycle of meetings in multiple combinations. 4/10

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    StewartWood

    Stewart Wood

    These discussions were like playing chess on multiple chessboards at once, with constant impasses, shouting, walk-outs & deal-making. 5/10

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    StewartWood

    Stewart Wood

    After 72 hours we got a deal involving multiple compromises, careful drafting & extra cash. All to ensure N Ireland kept going forward. 6/10

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    StewartWood

    Stewart Wood

    Here's the point: the deal would have been impossible if the UK Govt had been thought to have interests beyond being an honest broker. 7/10

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    StewartWood

    Stewart Wood

    Now we face new, multiple crises in N Irish politics: an executive suspended for 6 months, Brexit raising fears of a hard border... 8/10

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    StewartWood

    Stewart Wood

    The UK Govt's periodic role as an honest broker between the N Irish parties is now needed again. It has a duty to be & appear impartial 9/10

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    StewartWood

    Stewart Wood

    A UK Govt formally reliant on any N Irish party won't be seen as the honest broker it needs to be. The stakes are too high to risk it. 10/10

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    StewartWood

    Stewart Wood