Ministerial role

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland


The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for the Northern Ireland Office, advances UK government interests in Northern Ireland and represents Northern Ireland interests in the Cabinet.

The Secretary of State leads on:

  • Political stability and relations with the Northern Ireland Executive

  • National security and counter-terrorism

  • Implementation of the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements, including legacy of the past

  • Representing Northern Ireland in the Cabinet on EU exit, including new economic opportunities

  • International interest in Northern Ireland, including relations with the Irish government

Current role holder: The Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP

Karen Bradley MP was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 8 January 2018. She was Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport from July 2016 to January 2018. She was elected Conservative MP for Staffordshire Moorlands in May 2010.


Karen was educated at Buxton Girls’ School and Imperial College London, and graduated with a BSc in Mathematics.

Political career

Karen contested Manchester Withington at the 2005 general election, coming third. She was selected for Staffordshire Moorlands in July 2006 and was returned to Parliament at the General Election in 2010. Karen served as a member of the Select Committee on Work and Pensions, the Procedure Committee and the Administration Committee before she was appointed as a government minister.

Karen served in the Government Whips’ Office from September 2012 until February 2014. She then served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Home Office from February 2014 until July 2016.

Career outside politics

Karen is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser and worked in public practice from 1991 to 2004, first for Deloitte & Touche and then for KPMG. In 2004, she became a self-employed fiscal and economic consultant. Karen rejoined KPMG in 2007, where she remained until shortly before her election to the House of Commons.

Personal life

Karen is married with 2 sons.

Previous holders of this role

  1. The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP

    • 2016 to 2018
  2. The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers

    • 2012 to 2016
  3. The Rt Hon Owen Paterson

    • 2010 to 2012


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  1. Secretary of State extends appointment of members of the Equality Commission for NI

    • Press release
  2. Secretary of State announces £144m to support major education campus in Northern Ireland

    • Press release
  3. Karen Bradley toasts success of NI Commonwealth Games Team

    • Speech
  4. Secretary of State writes to Commissioner for Victims and Survivors

    • News story
  5. Secretary of State announces appointments to the Parades Commission

    • News story
  6. Unemployment levels at record low

    • Press release
  7. Secretary of State launches public consultation on proposals to address the legacy of Northern Ireland's past

    • Press release
  8. Appointment of new Chair of the Civil Service Commissioners for Northern Ireland

    • Press release
  9. Northern Ireland bites back in the fight against loan sharks

    • Press release
  10. Secretary of State 'Building Peace' speech

    • Speech