Brandon Lewis talks to Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill

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Media captionBrandon Lewis: The first tasks ahead of new NI secretary

The first and deputy first ministers spoke to the new Northern Ireland secretary on Friday morning.

As part of Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle on Thursday, Brandon Lewis replaced Julian Smith.

Mr Smith had helped to restore power-sharing at Stormont but was fired after just 204 days in the job.

Arlene Foster said she hopes Mr Lewis will cement the administration in NI, while Michelle O’Neill said an urgent meeting had been agreed with the SoS.

He is due in Belfast on Friday afternoon.

The Sinn Féin vice-president Michelle O’Neill said there were a number of issues to be discussed with Mr Lewis.

Skip Twitter post by @moneillsf

Spoke to Brandon Lewis this morning, we agreed to an urgent early meeting to discuss the range of issues on his desk, including; Legacy, bad faith on pensions, Brexit and political & financial commitments to make the Assembly & Executive sustainable

— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) February 14, 2020


End of Twitter post by @moneillsf

In a tweet, Mr Lewis said he was “looking forward” to his new role.

Skip Twitter post by @BrandonLewis

Good to speak to the First Minister @DUPleader & Deputy First Minster @moneillsf this morning. Looking forward to working with them & the executive team.

— Brandon Lewis MP (@BrandonLewis) February 14, 2020


End of Twitter post by @BrandonLewis

He also spoke to the tánaiste (Ireland’s deputy prime minister), who worked with Julian Smith to form New Decade, New Approach, the document which restored power-sharing at Stormont.

Skip Twitter post by @simoncoveney

Good to talk to new SOSNI this morning. Very positive first call. Looking forward to working with @BrandonLewis for as long as I hold my role in Govt. NI deserves and needs a strong and positive relationship between UK & Irish Govts.

— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) February 14, 2020


End of Twitter post by @simoncoveney

Mr Lewis had a “very useful catch up” with the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Simon Byrne.

Skip Twitter post by @ChiefConPSNI

Good introductory discussion with new SOS @BrandonLewis this morning providing him with an overview of current issues in @policeserviceNI and some of the unique challenges we face.

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