British Northern Ireland secretary Brokenshire resigns on health grounds
10 January, 2018, 02:13 | Author: Marjorie Miles
He said: "I think that there is a duty and responsibility on them now to get back into an Executive, back into devolved government and get on with serving the people of Northern Ireland. Whilst the health team believe that will deal with the issue and that I will be back to work - it will take a number of weeks", he said.
In a letter to May, Brokenshire said he would not be able to give the "complete focus" required to resolve the crisis.
The Prime Minister will seek to stamp her authority with a Cabinet reshuffle beginning today amid reports that up to six senior ministers could be axed or moved.
In a letter to Brokenshire, May said she was sorry to hear about the medical complication and commended the secretary on "what a good job" he would have done.
"In the course of negotiations, the SDLP has often disagreed with the position of his government but I have always found Mr Brokenshire to be personable, reasonable and, so far as possible, helpful".
While his resignation comes as a surprise, John Manley Irish News political reporter says he will be remembered for his blandness during a period of political instability. It seemed rather odd at the time but they didn't have a great deal to say.
"In the coming days, I look forward to meeting many different people, parties and other groups as I take on this hugely important and exciting role in the Prime Minister's government".
"With 12 months hindsight, it's easier to understand why the responses were so brief and lacked any insight".
"But just because he has the personality of a motorway services vehicle park doesn't automatically make him a bad secretary of state - it's his record in office that does that".
The 50-year-old father-of-three stepped down this morning, citing a lung condition as the reason.
"It's perhaps unfair to lay the entire blame for an inconclusive, lacklustre talks process at the secretary of state's door but he certainly can't escape unscathed".
Greening said: "Clearly, there are immediate challenges".
Update 2.39pm: Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney phoned Mr Brokenshire while on a visit to Cairo to wish him well.
But his main concern now is his health, having surgery on a lung lesion and making a full recovery.
Karen Bradley, who represents the English constituency of Staffordshire, was formerly the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
She wished him well with his surgery and said he "leaves the role with a very intimate knowledge of Northern Ireland and I look forward to working with him again in the future".
He said his decision to step down was the right thing to do. I respected his honesty and how he played with a straight bat. We can not undergo the same discussions with a new Secretary of State only to arrive at the same barriers.
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