Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Shailesh Vara MP


Shailesh Vara was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office on 9 January 2018. 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.

Parliamentary Under Secretary 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 Parliamentary Under Secretary 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

Previous roles in government

  1. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Welfare Delivery

    • 2015 to 2016
  2. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Minister for the Courts and Legal Aid

    • 2013 to 2016


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  1. HM Courts and Tribunals Service estate

    • Statement to Parliament
  2. Family Justice

    • Statement to Parliament
  3. HMCTS

    • Statement to Parliament
  4. Government to outlaw legal referral fees

    • Press release
  5. HMCTS Estates announcement

    • Statement to Parliament
  6. Ministerial appointment: Shailesh Vara

    • Press release
  7. New measures to make criminals pay legal aid costs

    • Press release
  8. 41 million wills available to search online for the first time

    • Press release
  9. Final words of fallen heroes unearthed

    • Press release
  10. The quiet revolution in our civil courts

    • Speech