Chris Heaton-Harris reappointed as Northern Ireland secretary

Chris Heaton-Harris reappointed as Northern Ireland secretary

Chris Heaton-Harris is to remain in the position of Northern Ireland Secretary as part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's new cabinet.

Mr Heaton-Harris, an MP for Daventry, was appointed to the role in September by Liz Truss.

Since taking up the post he has repeatedly urged for the Northern Ireland Executive to be formed or he will call a fresh assembly election.

Sunak last night appointed members of his cabinet, and dismissed some colleagues from their roles.

Heaton-Harris tweeted to say he is "honoured to be re-appointed as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland."

"I'm pleased that I will be able to continue working to ensure that we deliver on the priorities for the people of Northern Ireland."

The announcement comes days before an important legal deadline to call an election in the absence of the devolved government at Stormont.

The formation of the executive has been blocked since May's assembly election by the Democratic Unionist Party's (DUP) refusal to nominate for the position of deputy first minister.

The party has protested against the Northern Ireland Protocol, a part of the Brexit deal which keeps Northern Ireland aligned with some EU trade rules.

Mr Heaton-Harris, who like the DUP supported Brexit, has said he is "100% committed" to the election timetable and denied he would "backtrack" and delay a poll.

Tweeting after his appointment, First Minister Designate Michelle O'Neill said "restoration of the executive is the number one priority to help workers and families."

She also said that she would be meeting with Heaton-Harris today.