Shailesh Vara sacked as Northern Ireland secretary amid Cabinet reshuffle

Northern Ireland Secretary Shailesh Vara during a visit to Atlas Women's Centre, Lisburn, Co. Antrim.
Picture by: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images
Shailesh Vara. Credit: UTV

Shailesh Vara has been sacked as secretary of state for Northern Ireland, as the new Prime Minister Liz Truss carries out her Cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Vara, who took up the position just two months ago, said it had been "a great privilege and honour" to serve in the role.

Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris has emerged as the front-runner to be his successor.

Mr Vara, a supporter of Ms Truss's rival Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership contest, was not expected to retain his position.

He was appointed to the role in former PM Boris Johnson's caretaker administration in July.

In a tweet, Shailesh Vara wrote: "Great privilege and honour to serve as Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office and work with some excellent people.

"My best wishes to the new PM and I look forward to supporting the government from the backbenches".

Meanwhile James Cleverly has been appointed as the new secretary of state for foreign, commonwealth and development affairs.

He will now take charge of negotiations between the Government and the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Former Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis also has a new job - he has been appointed secretary of state for justice.