Jonathan Powell describes meeting Martin McGuinness

Jonathan Powell was Tony Blair’s Chief of Staff and worked closely with Sinn Fein in the years running up to the Good Friday Agreement and beyond.

Mr Powell described the first time he met Martin McGuinness, in October 1997, where he “refused to shake his hand”, a gesture he says he later regretted.

Mr Powell told The World at One that his feelings towards the IRA were coloured by the fact that they had “shot his father through the ear in an IRA ambush”.

He also revealed how he travelled “incognito” to Derry to meet Martin McGuinness, waiting on a street corner alone before being “pushed into a taxi” by two men with shaved heads; an episode that made him realise he would have to “go onto their turf” if the British government “were to have any chance of making peace”.

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