Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will consider bringing his Cabinet to Inverness next year to mark the centenary of a historic summit in the Highland capital.
The trip would aim to celebrate the 100th anniversary of David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, Stanley Baldwin and their ministerial colleagues attending Inverness Town House in 1921 for the first-ever Cabinet meeting outside London or Chequers.
British-Irish relations had reached a crisis point in September that year, while Prime Minister Lloyd George was on holiday in Gairloch, prompting him to call the Cabinet to meet at the Town House.
Responding to a statement on defence by Mr Johnson in the Commons on Thursday, Highland MP Jamie Stone urged the Conservative leader to make plans to mark the 100th anniversary.
The Liberal Democrat representative for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross said: “May I suggest to the prime minister that the UK Cabinet meets again in the Inverness Town House on September 7 next year?
“This would be to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1921 meeting, and it would also enable the prime minister and the Cabinet to review the defence of the UK by visiting sites such as RAF Lossiemouth.
“And perhaps also to learn about the great role that our armed forces have played, and play right now, in beating the Covid pandemic.”
Mr Johnson said: “What I can say is I will bear his invitation very closely in mind to come Inverness for a Cabinet next year. We will study that with interest.”
He added: “The honourable gentlemen makes an incredibly important point about the role of the armed services in beating the Covid pandemic.
“I was up in Scotland, I think actually Lossiemouth, talking to members of our armed services who are doing the testing, helping to fly patients from remote islands to hospitals.
“It was wonderful to see how the UK armed services have helped during this pandemic.”
The ‘Inverness formula’
Jamie Gaukroger, a co-ordinator at heritage website Am Baile, previously told us about his research of the the events of September 7 1921.
He said it was a sunny day in Inverness and large crowds filled the area from the station, along the High Street and down to the river, with every window and rooftop occupied.
The dignitaries were welcomed by Provost Macdonald, James Gardiner, MP for Kinross and Western Perthshire, and George Smith Laing, the town clerk. The discussions that day led to the “Inverness Formula”, which was said to have formed the basis of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
Lloyd George was later offered Freedom of the Burgh of Inverness, which he accepted.
Jim Hunter, author and renowned Highland historian, previously wrote about the Cabinet meeting in a column for The P&J.