Ulster Unionist Leader, Steve Aiken OBE MLA, said:
“I congratulate Brandon Lewis on his appointment as the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. He can`t let the grass grow under his feet and has a very large in-tray to deal with. Devolution has been restored, but faces many hurdles. Robin Swann needs as much support as possible from his Executive colleagues in restoring the health service to an even keel and the Secretary of State has a key role to play in helping to ensure he gets that support.
“Brandon Lewis also needs to take on board the huge concerns around the New Decade, New Approach document including the Stormont House legacy provisions and I’ll be making clear that the Historical Investigations Unit should be binned. The larger parties may think that it`s a done deal, but there`s still a long way to go.
“I`ll be asking the new Secretary of State to stand up for Northern Ireland and, even at this late stage, push back hard against the worst excesses of the Withdrawal Agreement which will impose a border in the Irish Sea. I hope that he`ll show some mettle in Cabinet and not be afraid to speak up against any further moves that undermine the integrity of the Union.
“It looks like we`ll have an Irish Government actively campaigning against the Union so it`s long past time that our own Government got off the fence and started actively campaigning for the Union. The Prime Minister has promised to put the Union at the centre of his Government`s policy. It`s now up to him and the new Secretary of State to deliver on those words.”