Chris Heaton-Harris announced as new Northern Ireland secretary

Chris Heaton-Harris announced as new Northern Ireland secretary

CHRIS HEATON-Harris has been announced as the new Northern Ireland secretary.

He is the third Conservative MP to hold the role within the past three months and replaces Shailesh Vara who was sacked earlier and was only in the role for 62 days, making him the shortest serving NI secretary ever.

Mr Heaton-Harris' appointment was officially announced by Downing Street, as new Prime Minister Liz Truss last night announced her cabinet.

Northern Ireland minister Conor Burns said he looked forward to supporting the new Northern Ireland secretary.

Mr Heaton-Harris has been the MP for Daventry since 2010 and, most recently, was the government's chief whip.

He was at one stage a member of the European Parliament (MEP) and staunchly pro-Brexit.

He also chaired the Eurosceptic group of Conservative MPs, the European Research Group (ERG), for six years.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson requested an urgent meeting with the Heaton-Harris to “press home the priorities for Northern Ireland."

"Like England, Scotland and Wales, we require action with the firepower of Treasury to get businesses and households through this winter of soaring costs.

"Northern Ireland is further hampered in this cost-of-living crisis due to the NI Protocol inflating costs for businesses and consumers as well. This is exactly why we need to see the Secretary of State working to replace the Protocol with arrangements that unionists can support."

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said his first job should be a functioning Executive at Stormont.

TUV leader Jim Allister said he hoped Mr Heaton-Harris would play an “active part” in delivering Northern Ireland from the “iniquitous protocol”

He said in a statement: “Having served as a MEP at the same time as Chris Heaton-Harris and been on the same side in Eurosceptic battles in Brussels, I welcome his appointment as NI SOS.

“I always found him good to work with. I trust he will play an active part in delivering NI from the iniquitous protocol.”