The revolving door of NI ministers at Westminster spins once more

Local Conservative and Labour groups reacted to reshuffles in the NIO and shadow NI teams.

NI ministers of stateAt 17:01 NI Conservatives’ co-chair, Trevor Ringland issued a three paragraph statement to thank outgoing minister of state Mike Penning and welcome incoming Andrew Robathan.

Until we find out more about Andrew Robathan [Ed – Political Scrapbook website called him a “blue dinosaur”] it’ll be noted that he’s an ex-Coldstream Guard who also served with the SAS … replacing an ex- Grenadier Guard and ex-fireman who had an interest in the Coastguard. The new minister of state was also “former Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the All Party Cycling Group and Vice-Chairman of the All Party Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group”.

Trevor Ringland found time to comment on the Labour changes.

Unfortunately the Labour Party has been happy to abandon the people of Northern Ireland and refuses to stand candidates in elections here. The outgoing Shadow Secretary of State, Vernon Coaker MP, was prepared to criticise a party which is prepared to engage in politics here, without successfully challenging his own leader to change his policy. I wish his successor, Ivan Lewis, more success in offering something tangible to politics in Northern Ireland, by giving voters a centre-left, pro-Union option on the ballot paper. We look forward to debating the issues and showing that the centre-right offers a brighter future for all of our people.

At 17:43, Secretary of the Labour Party in Northern Ireland Boyd Black congratulated outgoing shadow NI Secretary of State Vernon Coaker on his new appointment as Shadow Defence Secretary and was more effusive than the Conservatives!

Vernon has been an outstanding SSoS NI and has shown enormous commitment and dedication to the people of Northern Ireland. During the time he has been here, the LPNI have counted him as one of our firmest friends – he has been a great support to us.

We congratulate his successor, Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South, on his appointment, and look forward to an early meeting with him. No doubt he will continue Vernon’s strong record of keeping the Secretary of State for NI under appropriate scrutiny and keeping the Tory party on the hop.

Vernon Coaker was a regular visitor to conferences and events in Northern Ireland. His well-travelled successor Ivan Lewis is arriving just in time for the autumn conference season.

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