Northern Ireland news

Louise Haigh to be shadow secretary of state as Tony Lloyd steps back to recover from Covid-19

Yorkshire-born MP Louise Haigh is the new Shadow Secretary of State of Northern Ireland

SHEFFIELD MP Louise Haigh has been appointed shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland as Tony Lloyd takes time out to recover from coronavirus.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had nominated the 32-year-old on a temporary basis earlier this month.

It came after the party revealed that Rochdale MP Mr Lloyd (70) was being cared for at Manchester Royal Infirmary for Covid-19.

Mr Lloyd, who had served as shadow Northern Ireland secretary for two years, was discharged from intensive care last week.

He has now said he will step down from the front bench to focus on his recovery.

Sir Keir, who is a frequent visitor to Northern Ireland, having served from 2003-2008 as human rights advisor to the Policing Board, wished Mr Lloyd well in his recovery.

"I want to thank Tony for his service during his time in the shadow cabinet and on the front bench," he said.

"The whole of the Labour Party wishes him and his family the very best as he continues with his recovery."

He will now be permanently replaced by Ms Haigh, whose election to Westminster in 2015 at the age of 25 made her the youngest Labour member of that parliament.

She has previously served as shadow minister of state for policing.

Ms Haigh said: "Tony Lloyd has been a firm friend of Northern Ireland and I wish him all the very best for a full and speedy recovery. He will be missed.

"Labour have a proud record in Northern Ireland and, alongside Keir Starmer, we renew our historic commitment to work as honest brokers and trusted partners with political leaders, businesses and communities across Northern Ireland to meet the challenges ahead.

"Out of the Covid-19 crisis, we will play our part in demanding the much-needed support from Westminster to build a fairer economy, robust public services and a shared future in NI."

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