New Secretary of State for Northern Ireland gets criticised for showing off his photo of the Queen 3 weeks ago

New Secretary of State for Northern Ireland gets criticised for showing off his photo of the Queen

What a way to start his new job.

Julian Smith, the Tory MP who has been tasked by Boris Johnson with the role of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, has a hard job ahead of him.

He follows Karen Bradley - who shamed herself with comments regarding the actions of British soldiers in Northern Ireland, no assembly has sat in Stormont since 2017, and then, of course, there's the border.

With all of this on his plate, one might assume that Smith would quietly and quickly set about getting stuck into the job. But before he did that, he had something he wanted to share with the people of Twitter. A picture of the Queen that he keeps in his office.

He wrote: "Proud to have a picture of Her Majesty The Queen on the mantle piece of my private office at Stormont. I was delighted to see it there when I arrived last Friday."

Of course, it's not weird that a UK politician would like the Queen. It is, however, a contentious move to start your tenure as the secretary of state to a disputed territory by sharing a symbol of the monarchy which caused the division in that territory.

The tweet has drawn hundreds of responses, many of them critical of Smith's immediate show of partisanship.

Smith's tweet comes at a time when the DUP are arguing for pictures of the Queen to be restored in Stormont. Reports had emerged that images of the Queen were removed from Stormont after causing offensive to a senior civil servant.