Woodward to be new Northern Ireland Secretary

Looks like the former Tory and former NIO Minister, Shaun Woodward, is to return in upgraded form as Northern Ireland Secretary.[added link] Worthwhile recalling that he has been prone to clarifying his comments.. or, rather, having them clarified for him. And a reminder of one of my favourite Woodward quotes [didn’t he used to work for Esther Rantzen? – Ed] – “If I fail, sack me. Ministers should be accountable.”.. We would if we could, minister Secretary of State.. Adds As Nevin points out in the comments zone, that’s the unpaid Rt Hon Shaun Woodward MP.. and he’s to be sworn of Her Majesty’s most honourable Privy Council. Update That’s only unpaid as a Secretary of State.. he retains his salary as an MP.

  • To be honest, the position seems relatively worthess now…

  • Frank Sinistra

    “However, the DUP’s Ian Paisley Jnr said he had “absolutely no confidence in the judgement of the security minister”.

    “Now I’ve absolutely no confidence in the judgement of the security minister and when you lose confidence in a person’s judgement in such an important role I think there’s only one place for him to go.”

    Well it’s certainly no sop to the DUP.

  • redhaze

    Amazing how these Tory’s can not only cross the floor but actually be in the driving seat, well if you can call Secretary of State here being in the driving seat.

    Crossing the floor amazes me in any case, how can you suddenly change your world view?

    Then again I suppose their is not really any difference between Labour and the Tory’s or the Lib Dems.

    Elections in Britain are appearing more and more a futile exercise.

  • Anyone know any jokes about rudely shaped vegetables?

  • darth rumsfeld

    surely Woodward’s chauffeur would be in the driving seat?

    I’ll get me sash

  • Yokel

    Frank

    Thats a fair attempt at trying to make a nice party political point, but its only fair.

    If the DUP hadn’t said they no confidence in a NIO minister at some point I’d be more surprised. They say that nearly about everyone.

    Since schools getting out, here’s yer report..must try harder.

    But bless ya for trying.

  • Nevin

    Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
    The Rt Hon Shaun Woodward MP *

    * Unpaid

    http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page12165.asp

  • Frank Sinistra

    Yokel,

    I don’t have any party political point to make. Like Pete I thought about his past and the main splash I could recall was the DUP got upset about the exact same issue Pete flagged.

    Unless it’s more forgive and forget a Junior Minister in the Assembly previously declared he has no confidence in the new SoS and called for his resignation.

    A reasonable point when discussing his return.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    What exactly is this function of this guy now that there is a First Minister, DFM & executive?

  • Frank Sinistra

    TS,

    From their website:

    Constitutional and security issues, in particular, law and order, political affairs, policing and criminal justice. It also has responsibility for matters relating to the licensing and legislation concerning firearms and explosives, including fireworks.

    The NIO has a number of agencies; the Northern Ireland Prison Service, the Compensation Agency for Northern Ireland, Forensic Science Northern Ireland and Youth Justice Agency.

    It also funds two legal offices – the Crown Solicitors Office and the Public Prosecution Service.

  • merrie

    >> Amazing how these Tories can not only cross the floor … how can you suddenly change your world view?

    It’s a long time ago now but afaik he moved to Labour because of the appalling lack of help the Conservatives gave to disabled children (or maybe that was another Conservative renegade).

    It must have been a really deep conviction to cause the change. Shaun Woodward is very rich, married into the Sainsbury family and therefore would naturally tend to be a Tory rather than a Labour man.

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    So what exactly is the deal with his “unwaged”ness? Is it just he’s so minted he can’t be bothered to collect it? Is it a point of principle (and if that’s the case does anyone else do the same?) Or did they not think he was worth the money…?

  • pith

    Day 2 in the job and Brown has already broken a promise. Yesterday he said he was going to use all the “talents”.

  • curious

    ‘Shaun Woodward is very rich, married into the Sainsbury family’

    This could be a reason he dont need a ministerial salary. After all living at Hillsbourgh and with all the other perks he can live like a Lord anyway.

  • páid

    perhaps they’ve reverted to the ‘who’s got the plummiest English accent?” competition?

  • Brother Seamus

    This appointment is a shock to all who work in the NIO who thought theyd seen the back of Woosie in 2006. By all means an arrogant and pompous man who treated his civil servants with contempt, shouting at his staff presumably as he does to his servants. But from a political perspective it makes sense; Brown wanted someone with no links to the Labour with experience in NI.

  • merrie

    I think it is a shame that Paddy Ashdown did not take the job. He may have been quite good – don’t know if anyone in NI disrespects him even if he was a military man at some point in his life.

    The LibDems’ outraged response to Brown’s offer just shows, though, that it is not reallly a ONE party system yet.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    From the BBC “He said he wanted to play his part in achieving the devolution of policing and justice powers from the Northern Ireland Office to the assembly.

    Leaving aside party politics and the rights and wrongs of devolving these powers – does anybody know where there is an objective account of how significan they powers are?

  • Pete Baker

    IWSMcN

    A couple of points worth noting on that particular issue..

    A Newton Emerson article on the nature of those devolved powers

    And, on the devolution of those policing and justice powers.. the necessary mechanism of any devolution.

  • merrie

    Er, who is
    >> “he [who] wanted to play his part in achieving the devolution of policing and justice powers from the Northern Ireland Office to the assembly

    Presumably Paddy Ashdown, not Shaun Woodward?

    Again on Paddy, I think he has a natural dignity – a demeanour which could possibly have made him a good PM, though that would have also depended upon policies and the ability to implement them well. We’d never know now because he is a LibDem and they would never get into real power. The closest he could get to that was being NI Minister and he turned that down. Sad.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy:

    Leaving aside party politics and the rights and wrongs of devolving these powers – does anybody know where there is an objective account of how significan they powers are?

    No, and I don’t think there’s a deliberate definition yet. It hasn’t been negotiated.

    I am assuming the powers in question would be for example the ability to draft criminal laws, direct the judiciary (in the way that the Home Office does), make decisions on prisoner releases, etc. Other examples might be the power to beef up laws against anti-social behaviour for example. Power over the police is mostly exercised through the Police Board, but I’d expect that the Board (as well as the Chief Constable) would report to the justice minister.

    I’d expect there will be plenty of little get out clauses to ensure that “sensitive” security matters are shifted off to MI5 before any of our local politicians can get their grubby mitts on them.

  • Cruimh

    We should have held out for Sven-Göran Eriksson.

  • willowfield

    No, and I don’t think there’s a deliberate definition yet. It hasn’t been negotiated.

    It has been negotiated – all criminal justice powers will be devolved (i.e. responsibility for the criminal law, the police, judicial appointments, administration of the courts, prisons, the probation service, the compensation agency, the forensic science service). The only issue remaining is the timing.

    Basically everything the NIO does except the political development stuff, plus courts stuff from the Ministry of Justice.

  • Merrie

    Willowfield:
    >> It has been negotiated – all criminal justice powers will be devolved…<< So Paddy A. won't be doing much at all... He has agreed to a non-job, with pay.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete Baker

    thanks that is an excellent article. It appears to have one inconsistency: whilst stating that the powers are ” generous and juicy with surprisingly little held back” he seems to think that the fact that the Public Prosecution Service does not have to answer to the Assembly is a major issue – which seems strange becuase he also states that the Attorney General for Non Iron ( appointed by the assembly ) will in turn appoint the director of the PPS. If a fair Ulsterman ( prod or taig ) is appointed it diffcult to see how the atorney general ( London ) will be able to lean on him without a resignation.

    Comrade Stalin,

    there does not see anything in the article specifically about security other than the point above about the PPS being leanded on from London and not being answerable to the Assembly.

  • willowfield

    MERRIE

    So Paddy A. won’t be doing much at all… He has agreed to a non-job, with pay.

    Ashdown has been appointed to review parades “strategy” – nothing to do with devolution of justice.

  • merrie

    Thanks for the clarification Willowfield

  • Nevin

    “If our new attorney general doesn’t control the PPS and our elected politicians can only query the director’s budget, then it is still safe to assume that a phone can be lifted in London and a case can be dropped in Belfast as ongoing appeasement requires.” .. Newton Emerson link above.

    Well, you’d expect London to answer a phone call from Dublin …… 😉

    Officials from the Department of Justice in Dublin can be involved in day-to-day justice and policing decision making here without the option of accountability as inter-governmental exchanges are in secret and not subject to parliamentary scrutiny. Dublin, in such instances, can act on its own behalf or as a proxy for others.

  • The closest he could get to that was being NI Minister and he turned that down. Sad.

    Ashdown has already run a European country self-colonised by its own political incompetence – he was High Representative in Bosnia for some years and had sweeping and draconian powers few British politicians ever get their hands on. What’s the incentive for him to take a non-job like that? None. Doing his Parades Commission stuff is much more interesting and worthwhile.

    Woodward is just about the right calibre for a post-deal NI Secretary – i.e. low.

  • BogExile

    Woodward, on television yesterday, repeatedly expressed his ambitions to return ‘criminal powers’ to Northern Ireland. He’s a bit late, that has already been sub-contracted to the hoods.

  • lib2016

    Sad to see the children crying now that the apronstrings are being cut but we have to stand on our own feet sometime.

    We’ve got a second-rater to supervise our first few steps, then it’s up to us. That’s what devolution is all about.

  • Rory

    Woodward’s connection with the Blessed Esther Rantzen is that he was a trustee of the charity ChildLine of which Rantzen was chairman (now that it has been swallowed by the NSPCC her honorary title is President). He is married to Camilla Sainsbury who once worked as an unpaid volunteer for ChildLine’s fundraising department.

    Like most charities ChildLine’s primary purpose is to shine reflected glory on its city fat-cat trustees from any amount of actual good that might be accomplished by the charity’s volunteers and foot soldiers.

    Thr first pledge of the first ever Labour government was to abolish all charities (the state would fulfill their function much, much more efficiently – think NHS as opposed to hospital charity wards). I can’t imagine the sainted Woodward having signed up for that even had he been aware of it.

    Still his appointment as NI Secretary at least provides the very useful function of preventing him for meddling in other UK departments. Another case, I am afraid, of Ireland’s misfortune being England’s blessing.

  • Thr first pledge of the first ever Labour government was to abolish all charities

    I can’t recall that part of the 1997 Labour manifesto.

    Doesn’t make much sense given the way Labour have used the voluntary sector to deliver state objectives, especially in children’s services.

  • Rory

    Didn’t say it was the 1997 manifesto, Sammy. I said it was the pledge of the first Labour government. Perhaps you’re too young to remember Ramsey MacDonald. It couldn’t be that you have selective Alzheimers like the brave new boys and girls of New Labour.