Sir Robert Buckland said he wanted to see a “flourishing Northern Ireland”
The new chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee says he will engage with Sir Jeffery Donaldson and other party leaders to restore Stormont.
Sir Robert Buckland said he wanted to see a “flourishing Northern Ireland”, which was only possible “with an effective and efficient executive”.
He told the BBC’s Sunday Politics he “enjoyed good relations” with the Democratic Unionist Party leader.
The party has blocked power-sharing since February 2022.
“I am more than happy to carry on that work to engage directly with him and other leaders,” he said.
“I believe it’s in the best interests of those of us, like me who believe passionately in the union and unionism, to take the reins of responsibility again.”
The DUP has been protesting against post-Brexit trade arrangements between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Sir Robert Buckland defended the NI secretary of state
The incoming chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee also defended Chris Heaton-Harris’s record.
He said the NI secretary of state was a “dedicated public servant” who did care “deeply about communities and their stories”.
“I will of course as chair of the committee engage closely with him, and hold him and the government to account if I think, and the committee feels, that not enough work is being done to help bring the parties together,” he said.
A former permanent secretary in the Northern Ireland civil service Dr Andrew McCormick, previously criticised Mr Heaton-Harris for “abdicating his responsibility”.
But Sir Robert said the secretary of state “far from abdicating his responsibility, he is doing his level best to respect the parameters in which he operates”.
Sir Robert was last week elected unopposed as the new chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.
He is a former government minister who previously held two cabinet positions.News Related