Stormont deadlock: Brokenshire understands 'anger and frustration'

  • Published
James Brokenshire
Image caption,
Mr Brokenshire arrived at Guildhall Square on Tuesday afternoon

Former secretary of state James Brokenshire has said he understands the "anger and frustration" over the lack of a devolved government in Northern Ireland.

Mr Brokenshire also said his absence from office during a health scare earlier this year may have contributed to the political instability.

He met council leaders in Londonderry on Tuesday about a potential city deal.

It was his first time back in Northern Ireland since standing down in January.

'Saddened'

"I feel keenly the absence of a devolved government and look back with personal disappointment that I had to stand down because of my lung cancer, which needed surgery," Mr Brokenshire said.

"I was saddened that it came at a time of political instability here and how my absence contributed to that."

He called on those who had a stake in Northern Ireland to "redouble" their efforts to get the institutions up and running again.

Asked if assembly members' salaries should be cut, he said it was now a matter for the current Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley.

He also said he wanted the vision of a city deal in Derry and Strabane to become a reality.

Growth and jobs

Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced last month that the government will consider proposals for a city deal.

The special status gives local areas specific powers to help support economic growth and job creation.

A similar proposal was announced for Belfast in the Budget last year.

Mr Brokenshire had previously given his support to a city deal during his time as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

He stepped down from that post in January on health grounds and underwent surgery to remove a lesion from his lung.

Karen Bradley then took over the role as Northern Ireland secretary and chaired a fresh round of Stormont talks, which collapsed in February

Mr Brokenshire returned to the government front bench in April as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.