The views on Ireland of the British Labour Party’s new leader, Ed Miliband, remain a mystery despite his election to the post at the weekend.
After narrowly defeating his Blairite brother David to take the post at the party’s annual conference, Miliband insisted the “era of New Labour has passed. A new generation has taken over.”
Seen as duller but “less freaky” than his brother, his election was seen as a surprise victory for the party’s left wing.
But party officials were baffled this weekend when asked about Miliband’s views on the North of Ireland.
In a reflection that the North has dropped off the British political agenda, a Labour party press officer admitted that they had been “unable to find a comment” by Miliband on Ireland.
It is expected that Shaun Woodward, the current Labour Party spokesperson on Ireland, will shortly be replaced by Miliband in a reshuffle of his shadow cabinet.
Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly has called on the British government to “resist overreacting” to the armed campaign of the breakaway IRA groups.
At a meeting on Labour’s legacy in Ireland at the party conference in Manchester, the Assembly junior minister said he did not agree with the dissident wave of activity.
It came as guests were told British police demanded the names and details of the all audience attending a fringe meeting about Ireland at the start of the conference.
The ‘Agreed Ireland Forum’, which was holding a meeting in a hotel naer the Labour Party conference, said it was asked to hand over the details of all the guests who were turning up to hear speeches by SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie, among others.
But politics -- not “security” -- was the way to tackle the increased level of conflict, Kelly argued.
“They (the British government) need to resist overreacting to the dissidents. It’s a dangerous games for me to say ignore it,” he said.
“You can see the increased security here, I have also been threatened. The answer to dissidents is not a security responses, the answer is showing there is a political way forward.
“In terms of the Tories and the Lib Dems, our view is they need to stand over the Good Friday Agreement.”