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:

  • national security and counter-terrorism
  • implementation of the Stormont House Agreement
  • the economy and inward investment
  • political stability and relations with the Northern Ireland Executive
  • international interest in Northern Ireland, including relations with the Irish government
  • human rights
  • dealing with the past

Current role holder: The Rt Hon James Brokenshire

James Brokenshire was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 14 July 2016. He was elected the Conservative MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup in 2010.


James was educated at Davenant Foundation Grammar School, Loughton; Cambridge Centre for Sixth Form Studies; and the University of Exeter, where he studied law.


James was MP for Hornchurch and Rainham from 2005 until the constituency was abolished in 2010. He has campaigned on issues such as crime, asylum and immigration and keeping healthcare facilities at his local hospital. From 2006 to 2010 he was Shadow Minister for Home Affairs.

James was Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Home Office from May 2010 until February 2014. He served as Minister for Immigration and Security at the Home Office from 2014 to 2015 and as Minister for Immigration from May 2015 until July 2016.

Career outside politics

Before entering Parliament he was a partner at a large international law firm where he advised a range of companies, businesses and financial institutions on company law, mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance transactions.

Previous holders of this role

  1. The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers

    • 2012 to 2016
  2. The Rt Hon Owen Paterson

    • 2010 to 2012


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  1. Secretary of State expresses sympathy to Ruddy family

    • News story
  2. Northern Ireland Act 2017 receives Royal Assent

    • Press release
  3. Formal Northern Ireland Talks to resume after General Election

    • Press release
  4. Holy Cross bomb discovery

    • Press release
  5. Shared UK-Ireland commemoration announced for the Battle of Messines Ridge

    • Press release
  6. Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill

    • Press release
  7. Brokenshire: Round table talks paused

    • News story
  8. £250,000 of UK Government funding for the International Fund for Ireland

    • Press release
  9. Antrim Area Hospital visit

    • Press release
  10. Newtownards shooting

    • Press release