As of today, I am no longer the Shadow Minister for Northern Ireland. It has been an honour to represent Labour in Northern Ireland. The Labour Party helped introduce the Good Friday Agreement and I was proud to be able to highlight this earlier this year in the House of Commons to mark the 25th anniversary of the agreement.
I wish to extend my thanks to everyone I have met during my time in this role, be it online, in London or in Northern Ireland. I also wish to show my appreciation to MPs from the Northern Irish parties for the support shown to the shadow team as we worked towards the best outcomes for the people of Northern Ireland. Furthermore, I extend my gratitude to Peter Kyle for his guidance and friendship, and I wish him well as he too moves from the shadow Northern Ireland team.
I came into this role during a turbulent time in Northern Irish politics and I leave with the situation in a similar state. We still await the full implementation of the Windsor Framework, and the government’s shameful Legacy bill looks set to pass despite complete objection by Northern Irish parties and victim groups. Furthermore, the lack of a functioning executive is causing a huge strain on the lives of the people of Northern Ireland. I sincerely hope that power-sharing will be restored in the near future, and I continue to urge the Secretary of State and parties in Northern Ireland to commit themselves to this goal.
Fleur Anderson is now the Shadow Minister, and I wish her the best of luck. With Hilary Benn as Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, I have huge confidence in the new Shadow Northern Ireland team.
Northern Ireland faces many issues, but it is full of potential. I look forward to watching from the sidelines as this potential is realised.