Karen Bradley speaks of "great honour" after being appointed new Northern Ireland secretary

Karen Bradley MP
Karen Bradley MP

Karen Bradley has been appointed as the new Northern Ireland secretary in Theresa May's cabinet.

The Staffordshire Moorlands MP - who was brought up in Buxton - moves from her previous role as UK culture secretary, which she had held since 2016.

Mrs Bradley is among a raft of ministerial changes announced during the Prime Minister's new year cabinet reshuffle.

She replaces James Brokenshire as Northern Ireland Secretary, following his resignation due to ill health.

Her appointment also comes a year on since the collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly, with political parties yet to broker a deal to restore power-sharing.

In a statement, Mrs Bradley said: "I would like to pay the warmest tribute to my predecessor and friend, James Brokenshire, who did such an outstanding job. I wish him all the very best for his medical treatment and for a speedy recovery.

"It is a great honour to be asked to serve as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, particularly at such a decisive moment for Northern Ireland and the whole United Kingdom.

"Northern Ireland is a very special part of our United Kingdom and has huge potential. A key part of my role will be to help build a Northern Ireland that is fit for the future and works for everyone. In seeking to achieve that I want to work closely with all parties, the Irish government as appropriate, and with all sections of the community. Be assured the UK government remains fully committed to the Belfast Agreement, its principles and institutions.

"Clearly, there are immediate challenges. It is now a year since Northern Ireland has had an effective, functioning power-sharing administration, and forming a Northern Ireland Executive, to deliver for the benefit of all, is my top priority.

"I believe a devolved government in Belfast is best placed to address these issues and take the key decisions which affect people’s day to day lives - whether these relate to the economy, public services or issues of policing and justice.

"We must also continue the work to deliver a Brexit that recognises Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances and avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland while maintaining the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.

"Alongside these issues, I am conscious of the need to establish a stronger economy and a shared society, to address the legacy of the past and to keep people safe and secure."

Moorlands-born Mrs Bradley moved to Buxton when her parents took over the Queens Head Hotel. She attended Buxton Girls’ School, before studying maths and graduating from Imperial College in London.

She qualified as a chartered accountant and chartered tax adviser, working in public practice for Deloitte & Touche and KPMG and a spell as a self-employed tax and economics consultant.

Mrs Bradley contested the parliamentary seat of Manchester Withington in 2005, coming third, before being elected in her home constituency of Staffordshire Moorlands in 2010 by defeating Labour’s Charlotte Atkins.

In 2016 she was handed the role of Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in Theresa May's cabinet, having previously served in the Government Whips’ Office and as a Home Office minister.

She retained her parliamentary seat in last year's general election with a slightly increased majority of 10,830.