Wednesday 16 January 2019

TBT: Bill Clinton returns to Downing Street

Pictures from the 1990s show the former US president at the same address meeting then prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair.

In 1995 US President Bill Clinton meets then British PM John Major, and in 2017 he returns to Downing Street
In 1995 US President Bill Clinton meets then British PM John Major, and in 2017 he returns to Downing Street

By Nicola Irwin

It was a case of a real life Throwback Thursday when former US president Bill Clinton visited Downing Street to chat to the Prime Minister.

Clinton, who was president from 1993 to 2001, was a frequent visitor to Number 10 during his term in office.

He visited in 1995 when he was greeted by then PM John Major, now Sir John, ahead of a trip to Northern Ireland.

Bill Clinton with John Major at Number 10 Downing Street in November 1995 (Adam Butler/PA)

And he was one of the first foreign visitors to descend on Downing Street when Tony Blair swept to a landslide victory in 1997.

President Bill Clinton with Tony Blair, Hilary Clinton and Cherie Blair outside Number 10 Downing Street in May 1997

The president, accompanied by his wife Hillary – now a former US Secretary of State, was in Downing Street at the end of May the same year.

Blair secured his record win which ended 18 years of Conservative government on May 1.

A picture of his meeting with David Cameron was tweeted in 2014.

On his way into Downing Street this time around, Clinton, now 71, took time to shake hands with the bobby outside the famous black door and smiled and waved at the press.

He later revealed that he and current PM Theresa May had enjoyed “a wonderful talk”.

It came after Clinton’s visit to Northern Ireland where he had private discussions with the main political party leaders in Belfast.

Theresa May and Bill Clinton meeting

As president, Clinton played a key role in helping to secure the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which led to power-sharing at Stormont.

The devolved institutions at Stormont remain suspended following the collapse of the administration in January in the wake of the resignation of the late Martin McGuinness as deputy first minister.

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