Northern Ireland

Hilary Benn confirmed as new Northern Ireland Secretary

The Labour MP for Leeds South had been appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland last September

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Hilary Benn
Hilary Benn has been named as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in Sir Keir Starmer's cabinet (Maja Smiejkowska/PA)

HILARY Benn has been named as the new Labour Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer.

Mr Benn is a veteran parliamentarian and has represented Leeds Central in the House of Commons since 1999.

He served as shadow Northern Ireland secretary from September 2023 until former PM Rishi Sunak called the general election.

Mr Benn also served in the cabinets of Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown from 2003 to 2010.

His other previous roles include shadow foreign secretary and chairman of the Brexit select committee.

He is the son of former Labour cabinet minister and veteran left-wing campaigner Tony Benn, who also served in Labour cabinets in the 1960s and 70s.

During his time as the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, Mr Benn was vocal on many issues affecting the north such as the Legacy Act, the redevelopment of Casement Park and the return of power-sharing at Stormont

One of Labour’s manifesto policies was to repeal and replace the Legacy Act, which has been opposed by parties on both sides of the political divide in the north.

Speaking on the BBC last night, Mr Benn said his number one objective has always been helping the people of Northern Ireland’s government to work for them.