Brokenshire resigns as Northern Ireland Secretary

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

The new secretary of state, Karen Bradley, previously the culture secretary and with little apparent expertise or interest in Northern Ireland, takes up her post a year to the day since Martin McGuinness resigned as deputy first...

The 50-year-old Conservative told British Prime Minister Theresa May of his resignation in a letter, calling it a "huge privilege" to have served in government.

In attempting to prevent Northern Ireland erupting as a major crisis for a prime minister toiling on Brexit, Mr Brokenshire set "deadline" after "deadline" for the DUP and Sinn Fein to re-enter power-sharing; as each passed, he simply announced a new date until the point that he gave up on setting any deadline.

In response, Mrs May said it was "absolutely right that you should put your health first, for your sake and that of your family".

He later tweeted: Really appreciate all of the kind messages. "Standing down will allow me to focus completely on my family, my health and recovering from surgery speedily so that I can get back to frontline politics as early as I can", he added.

"I think she's (Mrs Bradley) heard directly today from people that they want to see government back here and if it's not going to be a devolved administration then it will have to be some sort of an administration direct from Westminster".

Mr Coveney phoned Mr Brokenshire while on a visit to Cairo to wish him well.

It is apt that the word likely to be most associated with James Brokesnhire's year and a half as Northern Ireland secretary is "deadlines".

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The business group also wished James Brokenshire a speedy recovery and all the very best for the future.

Following a meeting with Conservative leader May, 50-year-old James Brokenshire, whose job had been to represent Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom cabinet and oversee, announced he was to step down ahead of major lung surgery, Efe news agency reported.

Northern Ireland remains without a functioning executive, nearly 12 months to the day that that Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin led coalition fell apart follow the resignation on 9 January 2017 of the late Martin McGuinness as deputy first minister.

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

Mr Brokenshire bore no responsibility for the breakdown between Stormont's two parties, but his response to the situation drew criticism.

A relative unknown in Northern Ireland, Mr Brokenshire stepped into the spotlight, calling for snap elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly, early a year ago following the resignation of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.

"A key part of my role will be to help build a Northern Ireland that is fit for the future and works for everyone", she said.

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