Former First Minister Lord Trimble has insisted that he knew “absolutely nothing” of the letters, and said he believed the Government conspired with Sinn Fein.
The former Ulster Unionist leader, who is now a Conservative peer, accused Tony Blair’s Government of actions which had served to “undermine the Good Friday Agreement”.
“I would dearly love to know who signed off on that,” he said. “I don’t know anybody who knew about it.”
He said the secret deal between the Government and Sinn Fein had “serious implications” for the democratic process in the Province.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said that on the runs had been discussed in 2005 but that the issue had gone “quiet”. He said: “It went quiet and at some point this has been described as an administrative process that operated independently of Government which came into operation. I would dearly love to know who signed off on the letters. I don’t know anybody who knew about it.”
He added: “The deal was done in such a way that kept politicians in the dark because this is not a part of the process, people make comments that this was all part of the peace process — it was not.”