According to former IRA activist Danny Morrison, senior Tories secretly met IRA leaders in 1977 – when the terrorist organisation was at the height of its bombing campaign:

Danny Morrison is famous for coining the phrase ‘Armalite and ballot box‘ to describe the Provisional IRA’s then strategy of pursuing armed struggle while at the same time Sinn Féin contested elections.

Douglas Hurd is one of the Conservative Party’s most senior elder statesmen and later became Home Secretary under Thatcher.

Hurd’s meeting with the IRA would have taken place at the height of the IRA’s military campaign which involved murders of British soldiers as well as civilians.

It would also have been just a short time after a 15-month-old baby boy was killed in a car bomb explosion planted by the IRA at Harmin Park, Glengormley in January 1977.

The news of the contacts between senior Tories and the IRA comes not long after it was revealed a former IRA member is now a sitting Conservative Party councillor in Croydon.