Northern Ireland

Reaction as James Brokenshire replaces Theresa Villiers as Northern Ireland secretary

Theresa Villiers and James Brokenshire Image copyright Getty Images/PA
Image caption Theresa Villiers has been replaced as Northern Ireland secretary by James Brokenshire

James Brokenshire has replaced Theresa Villiers as the government's Northern Ireland secretary.

Ms Villiers said quit the government after turning down a new role offered to her by new Prime Minister Theresa May.

Mr Brokenshire said he was "delighted and honoured" to have been given the Northern Ireland portfolio.

Politicians have reacted to Ms Villiers departure and the appointment of her successor.


On Theresa Villiers

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Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland first minister and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader

"I think she got to know the issues very well, but more than that she got to know to know the personalities.

"I wish her all all the very best for the future, and I'm sure she'll come back in another role in the Conservative Party in due course."


Charlie Flanagan, Irish foreign minister

"For the past two years I have worked closely with Theresa Villiers and have appreciated the effort and commitment she invested in this role.

"During this period, we worked together to facilitate the achievement of the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements, which have stabilised the devolved institutions.

"I wish to acknowledge the positive contribution Theresa made and wish her success in her future political career."


John O'Dowd, Sinn Féin MLA

"I wish Theresa Villiers well personally, but politically she will not be missed.

"She has been the representative of a British government which inflicted austerity, welfare cuts and now Brexit on the people of the north.

"She also played a negative role in dealing with the legacy of the conflict, continually placing obstacles in the path of families seeking access to truth."


Martina Anderson, Sinn Féin MEP

"Theresa Villiers will be no loss.

"All British secretary of states (sic) should stay over there."


Tom Elliot, Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MP

"I'm sure Theresa Villiers will be back in frontline politics soon, thanks for her work in Northern Ireland.

"Look forward to working with James Brokenshire."


Colum Eastwood, Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader

"Theresa Villiers was a hard working secretary of state, albeit one with whom I've had my fair share of disagreements.

"I wish her well in the future."


Peter Weir, Northern Ireland education minister and DUP MLA

"Sorry to see Theresa Villiers leave the cabinet.

"Best wishes to her for the future."


Stewart Dickson, Alliance Party MLA

"Just can't get that song 'Bye bye baby bye bye' out of my head."


On James Brokenshire

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Arlene Foster

"Congratulations to James Brokenshire on your appointment as secretary of state for Northern Ireland.

"Looking forward to working with you."


Charlie Flanagan

"Under the Good Friday Agreement, the Irish and British governments have key responsibilities for upholding its principles and supporting its institutions.

"I look forward to working closely with Mr Brokenshire in discharging these in the interests of all of the people of Northern Ireland.

"That work assumes even greater importance in the context of the challenges arising from the decision that the UK should exit from the EU."


Mike Nesbitt, UUP leader

"I look forward to working with him in the weeks and months ahead.

"We hope to see James actively engage with the official opposition as well as the Northern Ireland Executive."


Colum Eastwood

"In a welcome contrast to his predecessor, Mr Brokenshire was a remainer, knew the benefits of staying in the EU and the consequences of leaving.

"In his role, he must act in the best interests of people of Northern Ireland, and I urge him to listen to his original instincts and ensure the democratic will here is upheld."


David Ford

"I congratulate Mr Brokenshire on his appointment, having worked closely with him during my time as minister of justice.

"Part of that role will be to recognise the majority of people in Northern Ireland voted to remain within the EU and to start work immediately on the particular circumstances of that.

"That will involve fighting for Northern Ireland in any Brexit negotiations by articulating he will be an active advocate of the interests of Northern Ireland, both within the cabinet and within EU discussions."