Mr Murphy's promotion to Welsh Secretary in July 1999 was seen as a reward for the excellent work he had done as minister responsible for political development at the Northern Ireland Office
Apart from saying that McGeown, 24, was accepting nourishment as part of his medical treatment, and that his condition was giving no cause for concern, the Northern Ireland Office
refused to comment.
But it emerged later that it was the Northern Ireland Office
- Mr Hain's own department - which proposed extending the provision across the UK.
After the 2001 General Election he became Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office
He said, 'I think a lot of people would love Peter Hain to apologise for the things he has done while he has been in charge of the Northern Ireland Office
rather than for him to delve into the past and apologise for things we had no responsibility nor sympathy for,' he said.
He did say that reviews of passport services could include a Northern Ireland office
The Assembly has been suspended since October 2002 amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the Northern Ireland Office
Four people were arrested amid claims that republicans had infiltrated the Northern Ireland Office
and were spying.
Plans were also being drawn up for a showdown in Downing Street later this week between the Prime Minister Tony Blair and Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams over reports that republicans allededly infiltrated the Northern Ireland Office
Insiders at the Northern Ireland Office
denied that Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson had set a two-week ultimatum for the SDLP to indicate its willingness to participate.
Months later she was replaced at the Northern Ireland office
by Peter Mandelson.