Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, informally known as the Northern Ireland Secretary, is the principal secretary of state in Her Majesty's Government with responsibilities for Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State is a Minister of the Crown, accountable to the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is the chief minister in the Northern Ireland Office; as with other ministers, the position is appointed by the British monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister. The position is described as'the Secretary of State' by residents of Northern Ireland. Holding a large portfolio over home affairs in Northern Ireland, the current devolution settlement has lessened the Secretary of State's role, granting many of the former powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive; the Secretary of State is now limited to representing Northern Ireland in the UK cabinet, overseeing the operation of the devolved administration and a number of reserved and excepted matters which remain the sole competence of the UK Government e.g. security, human rights, certain public inquiries and the administration of elections.
Created in 1972, the position has switched between Members of Parliament from the Conservative Party and Labour Party. As Labour has not fielded candidates in Northern Ireland and the Conservatives have not had candidates elected to Northern Ireland Assembly or for House of Commons seats in the province, those appointed as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland have not represented a constituency in Northern Ireland; this contrasts with the Secretary of the Secretary of State for Wales. The Secretary of State resides in Hillsborough Castle, the official residence of the Governor of Northern Ireland, remains the royal residence of the Monarch in Northern Ireland; the Secretary of State exercises their duties through, is administratively supported by, the Northern Ireland Office. The principal ministers for Irish affairs in the UK Government and its predecessors were: the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. In August 1969, for example, Home Secretary James Callaghan approved the sending of British Army soldiers to Northern Ireland.
Scotland and Wales were represented by the Secretary of State for Scotland and Secretary of State for Wales from 1885 and 1965 but Northern Ireland remained separate, due to the devolved Northern Ireland Government and Northern Ireland Parliament. The office of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was created after the Northern Ireland government was first suspended and abolished following widespread civil strife; the British government was concerned that Stormont was losing control of the situation. On 30 March 1972, direct rule from Westminster was introduced; the Secretary of State filled three roles which existed under the previous Stormont regime: the Governor of Northern Ireland the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland the Minister of Home Affairs. Direct rule was seen as a temporary measure, with a power-sharing devolution preferred as the solution, was annually renewed by a vote in Parliament; the Sunningdale Agreement in 1973 resulted in a brief, power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive, from 1 January 1974, ended by the loyalist Ulster Workers' Council strike on 28 May 1974.
The strikers opposed the all-Ireland aspects of the new administration. The Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention and Northern Ireland Assembly were unsuccessful in restoring devolved government. After the Anglo-Irish Agreement on 15 November 1985, the UK Government and Irish Government co-operated more on security and political matters. Following the Belfast Agreement on 10 April 1998, devolution returned to Northern Ireland on 2 December 1999; this removed many of the duties of the Secretary of State and his Northern Ireland Office colleagues and devolved them to locally elected politicians, constituting the Northern Ireland Executive. The devolved administration was suspended several times because the Ulster Unionist Party and Democratic Unionist Party were uncomfortable being in government with Sinn Féin when the Provisional Irish Republican Army had failed to decommission its arms and continued its criminal activities. On each of these occasions, the responsibilities of the ministers in the Executive returned to the Secretary of State and his ministers.
During these periods, in addition to administration of the region, the Secretary of State was heavily involved in the negotiations with all parties to restore devolved government. Power was again devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 8 May 2007; the Secretary of State retained responsibility for policing and justice until most of those powers were devolved on 12 April 2010. Colour key Conservative Labour First Minister of Northern Ireland Great Seal of Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Secretary of State Secretary of State for Scotland Secretary of State for Wales Chief Secretary for Ireland, office that existed until 1922
Peter Gerald Hain, Baron Hain, is a British Labour Party politician, the Member of Parliament for Neath between 1991 and 2015, served in the Cabinets of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He was the Leader of the House of Commons from 2003 to 2005 and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2005 to 2007 under Blair, as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Secretary of State for Wales from 2007 to 2008 under Brown. In 2007, he ran for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party, coming fifth out of six candidates, although his failure to declare donations during this contest led to his resignation in 2008, he returned to the Cabinet from 2009 to 2010 as Welsh Secretary, before becoming Shadow Welsh Secretary in Ed Miliband's Shadow Cabinet from 2010 until 2012, when he announced his retirement from front-line politics. In 2014 he announced, he was nominated for a life peerage in the 2015 Dissolution Honours. Writing in the Guardian, he subsequently outlined his views on House of Lords reform.
He came to the UK from South Africa as a teenager, was a noted anti-apartheid campaigner in the 1970s. He was Honorary Vice-President of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality. Peter Hain was on the board of African Potash. Lord Hain is a member of the Steering Committee of the Constitution Reform Group, a cross-party pressure group chaired by Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury, which seeks a new constitutional settlement in the UK by way of the Act of Union Bill 2018; the Constitution Reform Group’s Act of Union Bill 2018 was introduced as a Private Member's Bill by Lord Lisvane in the House of Lords on 9 October 2018, when it received a formal first reading. The Bill is awaiting a date for its second reading. Whilst his father was working temporarily there, Hain was born in Nairobi in what was Kenya Colony, but he moved to the Union of South Africa when his parents returned about a year later, his South African parents, Walter Vannet Hain and Adelaine Hain, were anti-apartheid activists in the Liberal Party of South Africa, for which they were made "banned persons" imprisoned, prevented from working.
Hain's paternal grandparents, civil engineer Walter Vannet Hain of Dundee, Mary Hain née Gavin of Glasgow, married in 1919, leaving Shettleston, Lanarkshire, on 17 September 1920 on the Edinburgh Castle with their newborn baby William Ayers Vannet Hain, sailing from Southampton to South Africa. Hain's father to become an architect, was born there on 29 December 1924. Hain's maternal grandparents were of 1820 Settler British South African stock, his 4th great-grandfather was George Southey. Hain descends from his daughter, Sophia Stirk, whose brother George was famous for helping to track the Xhosa tribal chief Hintsa kaKhawuta, pursuing him through the defiles of the Fish River bush, when Colonel, afterwards Sir Harry Smith was engaged in his capture, who, at a critical moment, when the chief had thrown his assegai at Colonel Smith, would have killed him, shot him dead through the back of his head, despite his pleas for mercy. Southey mutilated the body. A brother of Sophia and George Southey was Sir Richard Southey a British colonial administrator, cabinet minister and landowner in South Africa.
Hain is a fifth cousin six times removed of the Poet Laureate Robert Southey. When Hain was 10, he was awoken in the early hours by police officers searching his bedroom for'incriminating documents'. Aged 11 he was again awoken to be told his parents had been imprisoned for leafleting in support of Nelson Mandela's campaign. At 15, Hain spoke at the funeral of John Frederick Harris, an anti-apartheid activist, hanged for murder for the bombing of the Johannesburg main railway station, injuring 23 people and killing an elderly woman, Mrs Ethyl Rhys. Mrs Rhys's grand daughter suffered severe burns. Hain and his parents opposed the bombing but stood by Harris and his wife Ann and baby son David, family friends; as a result of security police harassment, Hain's father was unable to continue his work as an architect, the family deprived of an income was forced to leave for the United Kingdom in 1966. Hain was educated in South Africa at Hatfield Primary School and Pretoria Boys High School and in London at Emanuel School, a state school becoming a private fee-paying institution Queen Mary College, University of London, graduating with a first class Bachelor's degree in Economics and Political Science in 1973, the University of Sussex, obtaining an MPhil.
After university, Hain worked as a researcher for the Union of Communication Workers from September 1976 rising to become their head of research. In February 1975 he married Patricia Western and they divorced in 2000 after having two sons, Samuel born 6 August 1976 and Jacob born 21 September 1978, he married Dr Elizabeth Haywood in June 2003. He has six grandchildren, Seren, Tesni and Freya Hain. Having joined the British Anti-Apartheid Movement aged 17 in 1967, Hain aged 19 became chairman of the Stop The Seventies Tour campaign which disrupted tours by the South African rugby union and cricket teams in 1969 and 1970. In 1971 director John Goldschmidt produced a film for Granada's World in Action programme featuring Peter Hain debating Apartheid in South Africa at the Oxford Union; the film was transmitted on the ITV network. In 1972 a private prosecution resulted in Hain's conviction for criminal conspiracy at the Old Bailey for which he was fined £200; the prosecution was funded from apartheid-supporting whites in So