Tall order facing Peter Hain

There were moans of disguntlement when Slugger told several political back office workers last Friday that Peter Hain was going to split his Northern Irish post with his ‘other job’ as Secretary of State for Wales. At his post-resignation press conference, David Trimble was far from sanguine about the possibilities of success.But the truth is that compared to the complexity of the tasks facing his predecessors, Hain has, constitutionally at least, a comparatively straightforward job to undertake. The primary one will be to convince the DUP that Sinn Fein has jumped the required bar in order to be allowed to share democratic control of policing and justice.

Privately the DUP is now talking down the possibility of a deal that would draw Sinn Fein into a comprehensive deal.