Formerly a historical adviser to the Bloody Sunday Tribunals. I am a crossbench peer who served on the London Local Authority Bill Select Committee in 2007 and act as secretary to the All Party Group on Archives and history. In 2011 I served on the select committee of both houses on the defamation bill which included key issues of academic freedom. House of Lords/House of Commons Joint Committee on the Draft Defamation Bill (HL Paper203, HC 930-1 published on 19 October 2011) Published on 19 October 2011 by authority of the House of Commons.
Member of the council of the Constitution Unit council. Chaired the independent review Key Stage 2 (SATs’) provision in England which reported in July 2011 and was accepted by the UK government.
I am an honorary Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge and Member of Royal Irish Academy (MRIA).
I have just published Enigma: A new Life of Charles Stewart Parnell (Gill and Macmillan 2011) and continue to contribute to the media. This book was named by the Sunday Times as a biography of the year. Member of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly.