Brandon Lewis replaces Julian Smith as NI secretary

Brandon Lewis Image copyright Reuters Image caption Brandon Lewis was first elected as an MP in 2010

Brandon Lewis has been appointed the new Northern Ireland secretary.

He replaces Julian Smith, who was fired after 204 days in the job and had helped to restore power-sharing at Stormont.

Mr Lewis is a former chair of the Conservative Party and, most recently, a security minister in Boris Johnson’s cabinet.

Shortly after his appointment was announced, he posted on Twitter that he was “honoured” to take on the role.

Image Copyright @BrandonLewis @BrandonLewis


Twitter post by @BrandonLewis: I am honoured to have been appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by the Prime Minister. This is an exciting time for Northern Ireland & I follow fantastic colleagues as predecessors, whose work I hope we can continue to build on. Image Copyright @BrandonLewis @BrandonLewis

Mr Lewis has been the MP for Great Yarmouth on the east coast of England since 2010.

He campaigned for Remain in the EU referendum in 2016 but later said he would support leaving the EU as he was “first and foremost a democrat”.

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said she would speak to Mr Lewis on Friday morning.

The Sinn Féin vice-president posted on Twitter that she had several issues to discuss with him.

Image Copyright @moneillsf @moneillsf


Twitter post by @moneillsf: Will speak with new British SoS in morning. Will raise with him the issue of the full implementation of the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House; Legislation within 100days & financial commitments made in the NDNA; BG bad faith on the pensions for Victims & Survivors Image Copyright @moneillsf @moneillsf

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said he hoped Mr Lewis would act with “fairness and integrity” in his work in Northern Ireland.

Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken said Mr Lewis would face a “very large in-tray” and could not “let the grass grow under his feet”.

The Northern Ireland branch of the business body the Institute of Directors said it wanted to meet the new secretary of state soon to “discuss concerns of business leaders”.

In 2018, when Mr Lewis was a Cabinet Office minister, he visited the Irish border and later met businesses in Belfast to hear their concerns about Brexit.

Image Copyright @cabinetofficeuk @cabinetofficeuk


Twitter post by @cabinetofficeuk: Cabinet Office Minister @BrandonLewis visited Northern Ireland to talk to businesses and local people about what #Brexit means for them. Image Copyright @cabinetofficeuk @cabinetofficeuk

Last year, during an interview with the BBC, Mr Lewis said that after Brexit checks on some goods leaving Great Britain for Northern Ireland would be required if those goods were then destined to leave the UK.

But he disputed the accuracy of a leaked government document that stated customs declarations checks would be highly disruptive and separate Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

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Media captionBrandon Lewis: ‘We are not going to have a border down the Irish sea’

Mr Lewis becomes the fourth Northern Ireland secretary in four years.

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