Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

16.25 13 Feb 2020


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Conservative MP Brandon Lewis has been appointed as the British government's new Northern Ireland secretary.

It comes after Julian Smith was removed from the role in a cabinet reshuffle by Boris Johnson earlier today.

Mr Lewis has been a minister of state for security since last summer, having previously been the chairman of the Conservative Party under Theresa May.

The 48-year-old has been an MP for Great Yarmouth since 2010.

Mr Smith was sacked as Northern Ireland secretary today only weeks after helping oversee the successful efforts to re-establish the Stormont institutions.

The Taoiseach and Tánaiste praised the departing minister for his work, with Leo Varadkar describing Mr Smith as "one of Britain’s finest politicians of our time".

Mr Smith, meanwhile, said serving in the role had been "the biggest privilege".

Today's reshuffle saw a number of other high-profile changes - including Sajid Javid quitting his role as Chancellor.

British media reported that Boris Johnson said Mr Javid could stay on, but only if he sacked his top aides.

It's understood Mr Javid refused and then resigned.

Main image: Brandon Lewis. Picture by: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

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