Former NI Secretary Brandon Lewis confirms he will not seek re-election

Mr Lewis resigned as the north’s Secretary of State in 2022

Conservative Party Conference 2022
Former Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis. PICTURE: AARON CHOWN/PA

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has announced he will not stand for re-election as an MP.

The Great Yarmouth Conservative MP served as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2010 to 2022, under then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He infamously defended the controversial Internal Market Bill in September 2020, and told the House of Commons the legislation, which was aimed at altering the UK’s Brexit deal with the EU, would break international law in a “specific and limited” way.

He also introduced the Troubles legacy bill, which has been opposed by all parties in the north and victims groups over the ending of prosecutions and inquests relating to the conflict. He later admitted the legislation was the “most difficult, complex thing I’ve dealt with in my entire time in government in terms of policy”.

Mr Lewis eventually resigned from the cabinet in July 2022 after Mr Johnson refused to step down as Prime Minister amid demands from members of his party.

The revolt, which saw 57 ministers resign from the government, followed Mr Johnson’s apology over the appointment of an MP being investigated for allegations of “inappropriate” behaviour as deputy chief whip.

Announcing his resignation from the cabinet, Mr Lewis tweeted at the time: “A decent and responsible government relies on honesty, integrity and mutual respect. It is a matter of profound personal regret that I must leave government as I no longer believe those values are being upheld.”

In a statement announcing he would not be standing again at this year’s general election, Mr Lewis said: “I am proud of the small part I have been able to play in public life across eight ministerial roles, five departments and four prime ministers. In all those Government roles, I am fortunate enough to have worked on some of the most complex, sensitive and demanding areas of policy as well as with many fantastic officials and colleagues.”