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Brandon Lewis named new Northern Ireland Secretary of State by Boris Johnson

Brandon Lewis has been named new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by Boris Johnson.

The appointment of the former Minister of State for Security and Deputy for EU Exit and No Deal Preparation comes after Julian Smith became the first casualty of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government reshuffle.

The MP was removed from the Northern Ireland Office.

Mr Smith said in a tweet that it had been "the biggest privilege" to serve the people of Northern Ireland and that he was "extremely grateful" to Boris Johnson for giving him the opportunity to serve "this amazing part of our country".

"The warmth & support from people across NI has been incredible," he said on Twitter. "Thank you so much," he posted.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar commented on the MP's departure and thanked him for helping to "restore powersharing in Stormont" and secure an agreement to avoid a hard border.

"In 8 months as Secretary of State, Julian you helped to restore powersharing in Stormont, secured an agreement with us to avoid a hard border, plus marriage equality. You are one of Britain’s finest politicians of our time. Thank you," he posted.