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Northern Ireland Secretary - Shaun Woodward

A defector from the Conservative Party who was once said to be the only Labour MP with a butler, Shaun Woodward took on Northern Ireland in the June 2007 reshuffle at the age of 48.

As a Tory, he oversaw PR activities at Conservative Central Office and was a front-bench opposition spokesman under William Hague.

But he was sacked in 1999 for supporting the repeal of Section 28, which prevented the promotion of homosexual lifestyles in schools, and then switched allegiances.

He was appointed under-secretary for Northern Ireland in 2005 and later held the same position at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, with responsibilities for the switchover to digital TV.

Shaun Woodward


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