British PM names new minister for Northern Ireland

Brokenshire resigns as Northern Ireland Secretary

Brokenshire resigns as Northern Ireland Secretary

The UK's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on Monday resigned while Prime Minister Theresa May embarked on the most substantial cabinet reshuffle since losing her party's majority in June.

The switch, part of a long-awaited Cabinet reshuffle by May, comes almost a year to the day since the collapse of the once-troubled province's semi-autonomous government.

Karen Bradley, 47, was given the job, moving from her role as head of the government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, where she is best known for adopting a tough stance over Rupert Murdoch's bid to buy all of broadcaster Sky.

Brokenshire, who has led government efforts to restore the devolved Northern Irish executive after power sharing collapsed previous year, was stepping down ahead of major surgery in coming weeks, his spokesman said.

"Really appreciate all of the kind messages", he wrote.

"Standing down will allow me to focus completely on my family, my health and recovering from surgery speedily so that I can get back to frontline politics as early as I can", he added.

The assembly has not met since last March, with Brokenshire involved in trying to broker peace between the two sides to avert a return of direct rule from Westminster over Northern Ireland.

The British and Irish Governments had been expected to kickstart another bid to restore devolution after several rounds of talks a year ago failed to produce a deal between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

The power-sharing government was set up as a result of the 1998 Good Friday agreement, which brought to an end three decades of mostly sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland that claimed the lives of 3,500 people. However, a deal has yet to be struck.

Mr Brokenshire said in a statement.

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