Ministerial role

Minister of State for Northern Ireland


The Northern Ireland Office is responsible for overseeing the Northern Ireland devolution settlement and representing Northern Ireland interests at UK government level and UK government interests in Northern Ireland.

The Minister of State reports to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Responsibilities are:

  • EU Exit

  • Security-related issues and casework

  • Legacy stakeholder management

  • Parliamentary liaison with Northern Ireland MPs the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, and other interested parliamentarians

Current role holder: Shailesh Vara MP

Shailesh Vara was appointed Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office on 23 July 2018, having previously served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State . He served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions from July 2015 until July 2016 and at the Ministry of Justice from October 2013 until July 2016. He served as an Assistant Government Whip (HM Treasury) from May 2010 until September 2012. He was elected Conservative MP for North West Cambridgeshire in 2005.


Shailesh was educated at Aylesbury Grammar School and Brunel University and qualified as a solicitor.


He has served as a member of the Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and during 2006 was Joint Secretary of the Conservative Backbench Group on Foreign affairs and became a Government Whip in 2010.

Personal life

Shailesh is married with two children.

Previous holders of this role

  1. Chloe Smith MP

    • 2017 to 2018
  2. Lord Dunlop

    • 2016 to 2017
  3. The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP

    • 2015 to 2016
  4. Dr Andrew Murrison

    • 2014 to 2015


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  3. Autonomy of Hazardous Scene Assessment Phase 2 – ‘MINERVA’

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  4. Minister Smith attends new Board of Trade to ensure the benefits of free trade are spread throughout the UK

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  5. Battle of Messines Ridge Centenary

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  6. Dunlop sees 'moment of opportunity' for Northern Ireland business

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