Tony Blair guest edits the Evening Standard

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is the guest editor of today’s Evening Standard.

It comes on the same day the Queen shakes the hand of the Northern Ireland deputy first minister and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness

Blair reportedly told this morning’s editorial conference of the ‘poignancy in the timing’and his own role in the peace process.

‘I was the first British Prime Minster to shake hands with McGuinness and Adams, but it was so controversial at the time,’he said. ‘It is a mark of how far we’ve come that the Queen can do that today’.

Writing in today’s Opinion page, he said: ‘My handshake was in Belfast behind closed doors.

‘We went there to have initial talks before the Good Friday agreement and, you know, no-one had ever shaken their hand. There was a big, big controversy over whether we should and we were actually quite worried about doing it.

‘But it was an important step forward because it was important that we treated each other like human beings.”

Former US President Bill Clinton has written an op-ed on ‘A continent ready to fulfil its potential”, and Sir Bob Geldof wrote a piece entitled ‘Africa has come a long way but still has far to go”.

Evening Standard editor Sarah Sands said: ‘We are delighted that Tony Blair was able to take over my chair for the day. I hope readers will enjoy today’s paper which gives an international statesman’s perspective of the world.”

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