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It would be unwise to have a Foreign Secretary who could not answer questions in the House of Commons, however as a Minister/shadow minister he would be a wise appointment for the reasons you state

If he could not be foreign secretary, what about Lord Chancellor?

Ideally he should be a future NI Secretary or minister as obviously it is his key area.

He could take over from Lord West of Spithead in his security role, in which I am sure he would do an excellent job.

Do not appoint Lord Trimble as Foreign Secretary or NI Secretary unless you want British-Irish relations to be far less cordial than they are now. The likes of Trimble would not be Captain Popularity in the Republic.

Personally I think a senior cabinet minister in the Lords would be fine. How often do we see the question times for anyone other than the PM anyway?

If the questions to Trimble are in the Lords, a junior minister in the same department can answer questions in the Commons.

As Foreign Secretary, I can't see it, merely because of Hague. He is one of our few experienced ministers and one of the top members of the shadow cabinet. However, I think ignoring that bit it would be fine.

"The likes of Trimble would not be Captain Popularity in the Republic."

Nor in alot of areas of NI...

"The likes of Trimble would not be Captain Popularity in the Republic"

First of all, on what basis do you make that assertion?

Second, screw the ROI. We should pick the best people for the job regardless of whether one tiny nation likes the person we choose. Mark Malloch Brown is now a foreign office minister, has that hurt anglo-amercan relations? No, other things may well have done, but not his appointment.

The Republic of Ireland picked a northern nationalist as their president. I'm pretty sure Trimble knows her from uni times, and they don't get on.

He's due some role, but I'm not totally sure what. I don't think he'd be too fussed about being NI secretary, but it would be very funny to see the faces on the DUP when their new "boss" in Trimble, and he moves into Hillsborough Castle.

I should note he's also a sound and sensible sceptic of EU integration.

Oh, and don't forget about Lord Carrington - Thatcher's first Foreign Secretary.

'Do not appoint Lord Trimble as Foreign Secretary or NI Secretary unless you want British-Irish relations to be far less cordial than they are now. The likes of Trimble would not be Captain Popularity in the Republic.'

So? They hate us anyway.

Trimble has much needed experience in conflict resolution - he's wise enough to know that you don't make peace by raining down hell on the people who were looking fro a solution the whole time.

Those suggesting that Trimble could be Northern Ireland Secretary are missing the point surely? The point of a Conservative-UUP alliance would be to bring Northern Ireland politicians into the mainstream of British political debate on issues not limited to Irish affairs. If Northern Ireland was a battleground for the three main parties, it would probably become more integrated into British political life. Trimble needs to be appointed to a post such as Foreign or Defence Secretary, or even one of the social policy portfolios.

I don't think theres a problem with him being a senior cabinet minister from the Lords. It has been done before without controversy.

Also, it would be difficult for Trimble as Northern Ireland Secretary to negotiate in an unbiased way with the parties in the province when he clearly has a active UUP past. Having said that, the desire to unite Conservatives and Unionists is a masterstroke and I genuinely hope that the talks are successful.

Lord Trimble is a great asset and I trust that Cameron will use a wide range of talents.

A senior Cabinet minister in the Lords is not unusual and was generally common practice until the last 30 years. I think I'm right in saying that Lord Carrington was in the Lords when he became Thatcher's Foreign Secretary and she also appointed Earl Gowrie and the Earl of Caithness into the Cabinet in culture and transport roles

In terms of a role for Lord Trimble in a future Conservative government, it ought to be remembered that we don't know what the House of Lords will look like in two years - Labour have got a good two years to carry out as much vandalism as they please.

Lord Carrington, who never served in the Commons, was not only Foreign Secretary but also Defence Secretary. And there are many other examples.

I met Lord Trimble about eight years ago at a small, three-day seminar. He is truly one of the nicest and humble politicians I have ever met.

I completely agree with the Editor that he is Cabinet material and indeed would lend much-needed gravitas.

I think he would be an excellent candidate for Foreign Secretary, but also Defence Secretary or perhaps even International Development or Trade.

Sorry Irish Observer and Ulster Tory. During his difficult days in Northern Ireland, David Trimble was a frequent attendee at Irish Association and British-Irish Association gatherings, where he was a welcome and generally much respected figure.
Of course, he wasn't and isn't "extreme" enough for some.
Incidentally, the Irish Association was established, by a far-sighted Ulster Unionist, in the early days of the existence of Northern Ireland, to serve as a vehicle whereby the common name of Irishman (and Irishwoman)could be maintained despite the partition of the island. Its ranks includes representatives of all shades of Irish political opinion.
Triumble's experience, wisdom and level headedness should not easily be dispensed with, and some important niche must be found where his talents can be put to use for the common good. We are lucky to have people of David Trimble's calibre in our ranks.

Is this a joke? Mr Puce Face as Britain's representative abroad?

Let's be serious...

"John Bull" I don't think personal abuse against Lord Trimble is the way forward.

The majority of us here play the ball, not the man.

This entire thread is about the man, "Geoff". There is no ball in play. I've never read an article about David Trimble that hasn't mentioned his high colour and his temper. Do you think foreigners wouldn't notice?

He would be a completely inappropriate choice.

Personally, I would welcome David Trimble aboard. The Northern Ireland post is somewhat delicate but why should he be restricted to that? I'd like to see him in the Cabinet.

Northern Ireland needs to be represented by mainstream parties aswell and have access to politicians that can be in the Cabinet (or Shadow Cabinet), so this is all good news.

I hope it will also stop those cynically wishing Scotland will go it alone, and instead help the Scottish Tories continue to make gains as they did in May 2007.

Trimble is damaged goods. The Ulster Unionists, due to his incompetence, are a busted flush. The DUP may not be politically correct but they are in power. The Robinsons will be laughing at this pathetic Cameroon stunt. It could have cost the Tories hundreds of votes in the by-election.

A truly Scottish Unionist Party, without the Tories, would attract a lot of support in Scotland. The Unionist Party dominated Scottish politics in the 1950s. Then they merged with the Tory Toffs, dominated by clowns like Eden and MacMillan. It has been downhill since then.

A new Scottish Unionist Party would destroy Dave and his Tory toffs north of the border. Come on Peter and Iris Robinson - make my day. The future is bright, the future is Orange!

"A new Scottish Unionist Party would destroy Dave and his Tory toffs north of the border"

And yet it isn't!

There is a new Scottish Unionist Party and you have not even heard of it.

In fact THERE ARE TWO OF THEM. The SUP and the scottish progressives.

Both fought the 2007 scottish elections, neither won even a single seat.

I'm glad you like stereotypes 'Red Hand' - come election time, they will reduce the DUP vote dramatically.

Just my ill-informed musings but isn't it time we had a First Lord of the Admiralty again? (as well as a fleet). Perhaps with an evolved role (i.e involved in foreign policy).

"John Bull" - I think that calling him 'Mr Puce Face' is indeed playing the man, not the ball, but hey - please say it as you see it.

Lord Trimble has international stature but rather like me is not liked by absolutely everybody. Are you?

He could make a great statesman in a variety of roles - who knows he might excel at Education, Pensions or Defence - but he has certain areas of experience that others cannot equal.

He'll be a great recruit to the Cabinet in just about any role we offer him.

One doubts Trimble would desire such a senior role in government, bearing in mind he entered the Lords knowing he'd never be Foreign Secretary or anything on the same rung. If he'd has his eye on a cabinet seat I'd guess he'd have made considerable attempts to secure nomination in a safe seat in time for the next general election.

That said, he would indeed bring much-needed gravitas to the Conservative front bench and would probably do a good job in a senior position. Even Labour in 1997 didn't lack such experience, let alone name recognition. Other than Cameron, Osborne, Fox and Hague, the shadow cabinet are a bunch of complete nobodies to the vast majority of people. When the time comes for greater scrutiny of the opposition and its policies, this will be a problem.

Whatever his role, it can't be too political, as he's got no experience of fighting Labour. Most of his experience has been with working with Blair on the peace process.

I don't think he'd be comfortable with the party politics side, nor would our opponents, on the Labour side, be keen to be overly critical of him.

YourNameHere - he has had to deal with the SDLP and SF/IRA whilst checking under his car each day for explosive devices.

Hopefully for him your "no experience of fighting Labour" will be a blessed change. He is more than qualified and able.

Again, a life time in tribal politics doesn't necessarily qualify one to take on some of the challenges posed by a more tradition left/right issue based agenda.

An unionist politician never had to come up with a classic argument on why their were wrong.

6 years ago, I was dashing across Victoria Street in SW1 and, hurrying to avoid the traffic, nearly knocked over a pedestrian on the footpath. It was none other than the then NI First Minister. I reflected later that I had come closer to toppling Trimble than his old nemesis Jeffrey Donaldson ever managed to do.

I knew the Trimble of old and in those days he was pretty antagonistic towards the Tory Party, far more so than Molyneaux (who was the best chairman the 1922 never had). The thought of DT, aka the Purple Turtle, ending up in a Tory Cabinet would have been inconceivable.

There's also the fact that Trimble wrecked his own career and the UUP in a way that even Gordon Brown has yet to achieve.

Having said of all that, there is also no doubt that Trimble is a substantial figure in a Tory Party still not overrun with Big Beasts. Cameron should give him a go at something big and maybe the Turtle will be able to rein in that awful temper of his and those trainspotting tendencies.

Readers may also be interested in Jonathan Caine's review of Frank Millar's book about Trimble.

OK - so the more right wing, largely homophobic Ulstermen link with the present Conservative Party ! I smell trouble !

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