Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris not standing for re-election

Chris Heaton-Harris has announced that he will not be standing at the next general election; Elected to Parliament in 2010 he has served in a number of ministerial jobs, most recently as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris arrives for a weekly cabinet meeting at Downing Street on July 4, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, has announced that he will not be standing at the next general election.

Heaton-Harris has been the Member of Parliament for Daventry since 2010 and was elected to the European Parliament before that.

He has served in several ministerial posts including as Minister of State for Transport and Chief Whip of the Conservative Party under Boris Johnson. He was appointed Northern Ireland Secretary in September 2022 by Liz Truss when she became Prime Minister.

Announcing the news on X on Saturday night, he said, “It’s been an honour and a privilege to serve and I’d like to thank the good people of Daventry, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak for putting their trust in me”.

In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, he said he would be “honoured” to continue as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland until the general election.

“There are still a number of pieces of unfinished business I wish to complete and I love the people, place and job, but obviously would understand if you feel it best to replace me”.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, First Minister Michelle O’Neill, Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pictured following the return of the Assembly earlier this year.

“Liz Truss appointed me as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and you kindly reappointed me into that role. I genuinely want to thank you for giving me the chance to continue in what I believe is the best job in Cabinet.”

“Working with you I helped negotiate and deliver the Windsor Framework, which both solved many of the major practical issues created by the Northern Ireland Protocol, put in place as we left the EU, and helped reset our country’s relationship with our European neighbours.

“Then after long and detailed negotiations within Northern Ireland we produced the Command Paper ‘Safeguarding the Union’ which resulted in the return of Stormont and devolved government to serve the people of Northern Ireland.

“I strongly believe the conditions now exist for Northern Ireland to thrive, with privileged access for manufactured goods into the EU single market, whilst being an integral part of our UK internal market and being able to benefit from the international trade deals we negotiate; it finds itself in a remarkable favourable position – and as Northern Ireland thrives, our Union will strengthen.”

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