Northern Ireland Assembly 'Top Priority' For New Secretary


But the prospects of an imminent breakthrough looked bleak on Wednesday as DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Fein's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill appeared in no mood to change their negotiating positions, accusing each other of preventing the restoration of powersharing.

She is on her first working day in Northern Ireland since her appointment following the resignation of James Brokenshire on Monday.

"I have a very important job to do", she said.

Sinn Fein and Democratic Unionists have continued their war of words after discussing the Stormont powersharing crisis with the new Northern Ireland Secretary.

"Once one of the world's leading industrial cities and now one of the world's largest waterfront regeneration schemes", she said.

However speaking after the announcement, she said she was looking forward to her new role.

Mr Brokenshire - who turned 50 on Sunday - stood down on Monday ahead of British PM Theresa May's cabinet reshuffle and revealed that he is to undergo surgery for a lung condition.

"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".

Ms Bradley was re-elected as an MP in June 2017.

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Her website states this childhood experience gave her "a unique introduction to people from all walks of life".

Prior to working in politics, Ms Bradley spent 20 years working in business, with roles as an accountant and tax manager for firms including KPMG and Deloitte & Touche.

He was first elected as the Conservative MP for Old Bexley & Sidcup in May 2010.

Earlier she had served in the Government Whips' Office since September 2012, initially as an Assistant Government Whip and, after a subsequent promotion in 2013, as a Government Whip (Junior Lord of the Treasury).

In his resignation letter, Mr Brokenshire said it's his "earnest wish" that devolved government is restored "as quickly as possible".

Her website states that during this role she secured the passing of the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, which it describes as a "landmark piece of legislation" that will protect people from enforced labour.

Karen Bradley, who represents the English constituency of Staffordshire, was formerly the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Her tenure was dominated by her decision to refer Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox's takeover bid for Sky to the media and competition regulators.