Local tributes as Brokenshire bows out due to illness

Local tributes as Brokenshire bows out due to illness

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley begins her first full day in office today, a year to the day since the collapse of power-sharing at Stormont.

DUP leader Arlene Foster added: "This is clearly a hard time for not only James but for Cathy, his wife and his children".

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

Alliance leader Naomi Long said: "We often disagreed, sometimes robustly, but the role of Secretary of State is mostly a thankless task and I appreciate, particularly in the current political circumstances, it is not an easy role to fulfil".

Sinn Féin's leader at Stormont, Michelle O'Neill, said they are "ready to engage" in talks but questioned if the DUP is "serious about partnership government".

"Of course we don't want that - we want devolution, but we can't continue without a government here in Northern Ireland".

"And I understand the importance of dealing with the past and securing a safe and prosperous future".

Mrs Bradley also said her family was looking forward to getting to know this "amazing country".

The news was confirmed by the Northern Ireland Office this morning (Monday).

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"I want to send my honest best wishes to James Brokenshire as he steps down from his position as Secretary of State to focus on his own health", he said.

He wrote: "In the last few days I have been told that I have a small lesion in my right lung which needs to be removed".

A fall-out between the two leading political parties, the DUP and Sinn Fein, has meant that has been no Northern Ireland Executive in operation for nearly a year.

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

Conservative MP for Staffordshire Moorlands, Bradley has been secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport since July 2016.

She was educated at her local comprehensive school and later studied for her maths degree at Imperial College, London.

Brokenshire, who was appointed Minister last summer, has hosted a series of unsuccessful talks to help the sides find common ground in disputes and stabilize the situation in the region.

Mrs Bradley then worked as an accountant and a tax adviser for nearly 20 years, before entering politics.

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.

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