Dr Paul Dixon of the University of Ulster has been doing some research into Peter Hain’s track record:
"Peter Hain is probably the most partisan secretary of state for Northern Ireland ever. Since 1972, he has been a critic of British policy towards Northern Ireland," he said.
"During the 1980s he consistently supported a withdrawal policy, which was against the Labour official policy of Irish unity by consent.
"During the 1990s, Peter Hain’s position continued to echo that of Irish republicanism." (BBC News)
As Brian Feeney notes in the article, it’s difficult to read much into this, given the distance New Labour ministers have travelled on so many issues.
Having said that, there’s no reason why Hain should be censured for having espoused what has long been a widespread view in Britain.