NI: Theresa Villiers replaced as she resigns from post of Northern Ireland Secretary

James Brokenshire

Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers has stepped down from her post after turning down a new role in Theresa May’s government.

James Brokenshire, a current minister of state of the Home Office in London has been appointed the new Northern Ireland Secretary.

Mr Brokenshire was a supporter of the Remain campaign in the EU referendum.

The concerns over the free-movement of people and goods, after the decision of the UK to leave the EU, will be top of his agenda as he takes up the roll.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan congratulated Mr Brokenshire on his appointment and said he hopes to “have the opportunity of an early meeting with him”.

He added: “The post of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland carries significant responsibilities on important matters that remain within the competence of Westminster, such as security, parades and dealing with the legacy of the past. I wish Mr Brokenshire the very best as he assumes this important responsibility.”

Ms Villiers said she was “sad” to be leaving the post but leaves with the belief that the region is more stable than it has been for a number of years.

She said: “I regret to say that I have left the Government. The new Prime Minister was kind enough to offer me a role but it was not one which I felt I could take on.”

The resignation of Ms Villiers brought contrasting views from Stormont’s two main parties – the DUP and Sinn Féin.

DUP leader Mrs Foster tweeted: “I enjoyed working with her & wish her all the best for the future.”

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson took a different stance. “Theresa Villiers will be no loss - all British Secretary of States should stay over there,” she tweeted.

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