Northern Ireland

David Lidington: 'Nobody works harder than Karen Bradley'

Karen Bradley
Image caption Secretary of State Karen Bradley is under pressure from across Northern Ireland's political spectrum

Cabinet minister David Lidington has defended NI Secretary Karen Bradley's efforts to restore devolved government at Stormont.

The de-facto deputy prime minister said her "persistence and determination" to get the institutions back needed to be supported.

Mr Lidington was speaking during a visit to Royal Portrush Golf Course.

He was at the venue to see preparations for the Open tournament in July.

The secretary of state has been criticised for not bringing legislation to Westminster to compensate victims of institutional abuse, which was recommended in 2017 after an inquiry.

But the power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive at Stormont collapsed just days after the inquiry report was published, stalling the plans for compensation.

Mr Lidington defended his cabinet colleague.

Whilst not commenting on the compensation scheme, he said "nobody works harder" than the secretary of state.

On the collapse of Brexit talks with Labour, he said it was a matter of regret but added the two parties could not bridge the gaps.

He said both parties would work together on "ideas" that might be put before Parliament.

He also urged MPs to back the prime minister's Withdrawal Bill when it returns to the House of Commons in June.

"MPs need to accept their second of third preference to find the right compromise to get a deal through and we can start delivering on the vote," he said.

On the Conservative leadership race, he said: "What everybody should be thinking about is not personal ambition or party advantage, they should be thinking about what is in the national interest."

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