Shailesh Vara appointed Secretary for Northern Ireland

Shailesh Vara has been appointed Minister for Northern Ireland following the resignation of Brandon Lewis.

The former NIO minister was announced amid the chaos at Downing Street as the number of resignations in protest against Boris Johnson’s government piled up.

Mr Johnson is set to remain Prime Minister until a successor is in office, which is expected to be until the Conservative Party Conference in October.

This despite critics suggesting he cannot remain in office until the fall.

Mr Lewis announced his resignation early Thursday, tweeting a copy of his resignation letter telling the Prime Minister that it had “given you and those around you the benefit of the doubt”.

“But we have now passed the point of no return.

“I cannot sacrifice my personal integrity to defend things as they are now. It is clear that our party, fellow parliamentarians, volunteers and the whole country deserve better,” he said.

NIO Minister Conor Burns indicated he would remain in office and tweeted that he would be acting for government at a British-Irish Council meeting.

“It is vital at this time that work @NIOgov continues to get done.

“I am committed to continuing to serve the wonderful people of Northern Ireland to the best of my ability at this difficult time,” he said.

Mr Lewis was blasted by Sinn Fein Stormont boss Michelle O’Neill as to have “disgracefully appeased the DUP”.

She claimed he had “abandoned any pretense of acting with the ‘rigorous impartiality’ required of him under the Good Friday Agreement.”

“He has shamefully mollified the DUP by giving them political guise by denying voters the democratic representation to which they are entitled,” she said.

The Stormont Assembly remains collapsed amid a row over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The DUP refuses to appoint ministers to the executive or a spokesperson to enable the assembly to function until the UK government takes action on post-Brexit arrangements.

Meanwhile, Colum Eastwood, chairman of the SDLP, said Mr Johnson had “debased the office he holds”.

“He has fundamentally and indelibly damaged public confidence in politics and public life, and his deadly grip on power has prolonged a reign that will be marked by lawbreaking, scandal and slander.

“He should leave the government now,” he said

Ms O’Neill also criticized Mr Lewis for his proposed legislation to deal with Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill provides an effective amnesty for Troubles crimes for those who work with an information agency.

She added: “He has undermined the Good Friday Agreement and political stability and his actions have served as a daily reminder to us why those without a mandate or votes here will always act in their own political interests and not ours.

“North’s political stability cannot be held hostage to Tory-in fighting, Westminster chaos and ongoing DUP disruptions.”

Alliance MP Stephen Farry described a “completely insane situation” and said Mr Johnson was a “narcissistic, self-proclaimed fool”.

“The fact that it got to this point in the first place is devastating in itself,” he said, also questioning the DUP’s silence on Mr Johnson.

Prominent campaigner for victims, Raymond McCord, welcomed Mr Lewis’ resignation.


McCORD’S SPELLING CORRECTION RETRANSMITTED Raymond McCord is interviewed in Parliament Square, Westminster, as victims of The Troubles and their families gather ahead of a meeting with MPs and colleagues from across the UK to launch their campaign against a proposed statute of limitations going forward to step up prosecutions for crimes committed during the conflict. Picture date: Tuesday October 19, 2021.

Mr McCord said: “He (Mr Lewis) betrayed the victims of the problems with the Legacy Bill, which grants amnesty to murderers.

“Brandon Lewis has decided to reward killers with amnesties for the murders they committed and to punish victims and their families by ensuring that all avenues of justice and even civil proceedings are closed.

“He insulted all the victims by claiming it would help us.

“He will certainly not be missed by the victims.” Shailesh Vara appointed Secretary for Northern Ireland

Fry Electronics Team

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