Allister ‘unmoved’ at prospect of 1986 Assembly collapse

Jim Allister 'was less than charitable about the Secretary of State's efforts and motives'
Jim Allister 'was less than charitable about the Secretary of State's efforts and motives'

During a unionist boycott of the Northern Ireland Office, the then DUP Assemblyman Jim Allister rather awkwardly found himself sitting beside a mid-ranking NIO official on the London Tube.

A May 19 1986 memo from J E McConnell in the Political Affairs Division of the NIO, said: “I met Mr Allister (16.5.86) when, to his embarrassment, he inadvertently sat down beside me on the tube to Heathrow.

“During our conversation he took a predictably hard line in relation to the Anglo Irish Agreement and also the question of ‘talks about talks’.

“He is very pleased indeed that the possibility some preliminary talks might take place seems now, in his words, to have bitten the dust.”

Mr McConnell said that “as usual, Mr Allister was less than charitable about the Secretary of State’s efforts and motives”.

The memo added: “There is little doubt that Assemblymen such as Mr Allister who have other sources of income, will be unmoved by any decision taken by HMG to close the Assembly and will in fact welcome the opportunity to once again claim that HMG is denying the democratic right of the loyalist people to express their view as publicly elected representatives.