MP Penning promoted to head Northern Ireland security

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MP Mike Penning has been promoted in the latest government reshuffle to become Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office with responsibility for security and the military.

Mr Penning, who served as a Grenadier Guardsman in Northern Ireland during the 1970s, was offered the brief when he was called into a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron today (Tuesday).

“I’m thrilled, it’s a challenge,” he said.

“With my roots, having served in the province in the 1970s, I will be helping to fulfil the Good Friday peace agreement.”

Mr Penning, who was previously a junior transport minister, will take up his new role as violence flares on the streets of Belfast, sparked by the marching season.

David Gauke, MP for South West Herts, is currently Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and has not heard from the Prime Minister.