Northern Ireland news

Who stays, who goes: Chris Heaton-Harris remains as NI Secretary, Suella Braverman back as Home Secretary

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris leaving 10 Downing Street, London, following the first Cabinet meeting with new Prime Minister Liz Truss. Picture date: Wednesday September 7, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire.
Sam Blewett, PA Deputy Political Editor

Rishi Sunak has re-appointed Chris Heaton-Harris as Northern Ireland Secretary, Downing Street said.

The Prime Minister as also appointed Suella Braverman as Home Secretary less than a week after she was out of Liz Truss’s government over a breach of the ministerial code.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt has been re-appointed as Chancellor while Jacob Rees-Mogg quit as Business Secretary and Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis was among those who lost their Cabinet position in new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle.

Penny Mordaunt, the two-time Tory leadership contender, will remain as Leader of the House of Commons and Grant Shapps has been appointed Business Secretary, Downing Street said.

Johnny Mercer is returning to Government, after being appointed to his former role of veterans’ minister.

Mr Mercer, who was in recent weeks was a vocal critic Liz Truss’s mini-budget, was sacked as veterans’ minister when the now ex-PM took over in September.

He tweeted: “My determination to make this the best country in the world to be an Armed Forces Veteran remains unbowed.

“Delighted to return to Cabinet this evening, and looking forward to the mission supporting Rishi Sunak.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg concedeed he would not get a job in Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet despite recanting his claim the new prime minister was a “socialist”.

(left to right) Minister of State (Minister for Development) in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Vicky Ford, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg and Works and Pensions Secretary Chloe Smith in Downing Street in London, following a cabinet meeting. Picture date: Tuesday October 18, 2022.


The old ally of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss was the first to acknowledge today that he was out as the newly appointed Conservative leader began a government shake-up.

A source close to Mr Rees-Mogg told the PA news agency: “He knows he was very close to the previous two regimes and it didn’t seem likely he was going to be appointed in the new Cabinet.

“He’s happy to support the prime minister from the backbenches.”

During the last Tory leadership contest, Mr Rees-Mogg described Mr Sunak as the “much-lamented socialist chancellor” who had put up taxes during the coronavirus pandemic.

And he accused Mr Sunak of “disloyalty” to Mr Johnson, with many Conservatives blaming the new leader for bringing down the old one by resigning as chancellor.

But today Mr Rees-Mogg backed down and told The Telegraph he would now serve in Mr Sunak’s government if asked.

Asked about the “socialist” charge, the MP replied: “That was said in the run-up to the leadership campaign, under very different circumstances.

“The leader of the Conservative Party is clearly not a socialist.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg made an instant return to the Conservative backbenches, telling the Commons: “May I say what a pleasure it is that normal service can be resumed that I now have the ability to speak slightly more freely than I may have done when I was sitting in a different place.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg has quit as Business Secretary


Brandon Lewis has said he is out as Justice Secretary as he vowed to support Rishi Sunak from the backbenches.

Mr Lewis sent a resignation letter to the new prime minister.

“Our party is at a crossroads,” it read.

“We now have an opportunity to reunite and rebuild, and we must take it. We must come together and deliver the mandate we were given by the British people.

“We have a duty to the country to do so, at a time of economic hardship for so many. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of the Conservative Party and everything we stand for is at stake if we do not.

“You will have my support from the backbenches in addressing the economic crisis we face, bringing our party together and delivering on the promises we put forward in the 2019 manifesto, on which we won such an overwhelming majority.”

Former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis. Picture by Yui Mok, Press Association

Wendy Morton has revealed she is no longer chief whip and is returning to the backbenches under Rishi Sunak’s new government.

She tweeted: “Heading to the back benches from where I will continue to represent the constituents, businesses and communities of Aldridge-Brownhills.”

It comes almost a week after Ms Morton’s status as chief whip was in the balance amid speculation she had resigned over the fracking vote in the Commons last Wednesday, only for Downing Street to insist she remained in the post hours later.

Former Chief Whip Wendy Morton arrives at 10 Downing Street, London after Liz Truss announced her resignation as Prime Minister. Picture date: Thursday October 20, 2022.

Jake Berry has said he has left his position as Conservative Party chairman.

Robert Buckland said he is leaving as Welsh secretary.

James Cleverly has been re-appointed as Foreign Secretary, Downing Street said, and Simon Hart has been appointed Chief Whip.

Dominic Raab has been appointed Justice Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister.

Kit Malthouse is out as education secretary, a source close to the MP told the PA news agency.

He tweeted: “As I leave the DfE, I do so with profound gratitude to officials, my private office team, and brilliant advisers, who all worked so hard.

“I hope my successor can harness their commitment to the most important mission in Whitehall: the future and welfare of our children.”

Simon Clarke, who was chief secretary to the Treasury under Rishi Sunak when he was chancellor, indicated he is out of the role of levelling-up secretary.

He tweeted: “It has been a great privilege to serve as Secretary of State @luhc, working alongside some terrific people to #LevelUp our communities, just as it was before that as Chief Secretary @hmtreasury.

“It has only been while holding these positions that I’ve come to appreciate the full weight of responsibility that ministers bear, and we are deeply fortunate to be supported in this by our civil servants and special advisers (and never forget them on days like today).”

Chloe Smith, who backed Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership contest, said she is out as work and pensions secretary.

In a tweet, Ms Smith said: “It has been a privilege to serve as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and I would like to thank all of the brilliant staff at @DWP for their dedication to helping people into work and protecting the most vulnerable.

“I look forward to supporting @RishiSunak from the backbenches & continuing to work hard for my constituents in Norwich North.”

Vicky Ford has announced she has left her role as minister of state in the Foreign Office.

She tweeted: “There is no greater honour than representing the UK overseas. I am sorry to leave the @fcdo but wish my successor and @RishiSunak all the very best.

“Thank you to all the AMAZING fcdo staff across the world. It has been wonderful to work with you.”


Jake Berry


He told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme that Rishi Sunak “doesn’t go around promising those jobs” and he “wants to make those decisions himself”.

“But, of course, he’s worked very closely with Jeremy Hunt before, the policies that Jeremy Hunt has brought in were the policies that Rishi advocated over the summer,” he said.

“So, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Jeremy Hunt remain.”


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