April 26, 2018

NI Secretary to meet Coveney on Friday

13 January 2018, 01:47 | Leigh Flowers

British Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire resigns

Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire resigns from cabinet over ill-health

In a statement shortly after her appointment, Mrs Bradley described it as a "great honour" and said the restoration of devolution was her "top priority".

Ms Bradley, MP for Staffordshire Moorlands, was formerly in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and is considered a close ally of Prime Minister Theresa May.

Theresa May will now have to replace the 50-year old MP, who has been doing the Northern Ireland job since July 2016.

She added: "The clock is ticking in relation to the government of Northern Ireland, we haven't had a government now for over a year".

In a letter to Mrs May, Mr Brokenshire outlined how a small lesion has been discovered on his right lung during tests and surgery will be carried out.

But he said he recognised that he would not "be able to give the effort, energy and complete focus needed at this important time" and therefore believed that "the right thing at this time is for me to stand down from my current responsibilities".

Mrs May, who carried out a cabinet reshuffle on Monday, joined those in paying tribute to Mr Brokenshire and wished him a "speedy recovery".

That has resulted in a unprecedented purgatorial existence for Northern Ireland where there is no government but civil servants continue to run public services and either take political decisions or leave key decisions untaken. The former Deputy First Minister's resignation over Arlene Foster's refusal to step aside as First Minister over the cash for ash scandal brought down the Stormont Assembly.

A government source says he will be citing "ill-health", which will be confirmed in an official letter to the British Prime Minister this morning.

Her schedule today also includes face-to-face meetings with the leaders of the DUP and Sinn Féin.

Mr Brokenshire visited Enniskillen twice last November.

DUP leader Arlene Foster added: "This is clearly a hard time for not only James but for Cathy, his wife and his children".

"We wish to express our thanks for the work Mr Brokenshire undertook in often very challenging circumstances".

"I wished James and his family well for the period ahead and told him I hope to have the opportunity to work with him again in the future".

Amid the chaos and confusion that attended this week's reshuffle, the announcement of a new secretary of state for Northern Ireland passed off with little notice.

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