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Chris Heaton-Harris says he will not run again

Chris Heaton-Harris says he will not run again
Chris Heaton-Harris says he will not run again

 


Northern Ireland Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris has announced he will not stand in the next general election.

The Conservative MP told the X it had been an honor and privilege to serve and passed on his thanks to his constituents in Daventry.

He also thanked Rishi Sunak as well as former prime ministers Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.

He added that he would continue to campaign for the Conservatives, as the only party that could succeed and be able to deliver results for the whole of the UK.

Mr Heaton-Harris was first elected as an MP in 2010. A staunch Eurosceptic, he was appointed Conservative chief whip in 2022 by Mr Johnson.

Later that year, Liz Truss appointed him Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, a role he retained when Mr Sunak became Prime Minister.

Northern Ireland politicians visit USNorthern Ireland politicians visit US

Much of Chris Heaton-Harris' time in Northern Ireland was spent trying to restore Stormont's power-sharing institutions (Niall Carson/PA)

At the time, Stormont's power-sharing institutions had collapsed due to a DUP protest against post-Brexit trade deals, and much of his time in Northern Ireland was spent negotiating with the parties with the aim of restoring the Assembly and the Executive.

Meanwhile, Mr Heaton-Harris passed a budget to keep Stormont departments operating in the absence of ministers and was also closely associated with the passage of the Government's controversial bill to deal with the he legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The Stormont Executive returned in February this year.

In his letter to Mr Sunak, Mr Heaton-Harris said: Working with you, I helped negotiate and implement the Windsor Framework, which resolved many of the major practical problems created by the Protocol of Northern Ireland, put in place when we left the EU. and helped reset our country's relations with our European neighbors.

Then, after long and detailed negotiations in Northern Ireland, we produced the Command Document for Saving the Union, which resulted in the return of Stormont and a devolved government to serve the people of Northern Ireland.

I firmly believe that the conditions are now right for Northern Ireland to prosper, with preferred access for manufactured goods to the EU single market, whilst being an integral part of our UK internal market and being able to to benefit from the international trade agreements that we negotiate; it is in a remarkably favorable position and, as Northern Ireland prospers, our Union will grow stronger.

Mr Heaton-Harris added: I know we are not far from a general election, one in which I will do everything I can to see you return as Prime Minister, I would be honored if you allow me to continue as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland until then.

There are still a number of unfinished tasks that I want to complete and I love the people, the place and the work, but I would obviously understand if you find it best to replace me.

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