A former SAS officer has been appointed as Secretary of State Theresa Villiers’ understudy in the NIO.
Tory MP Andrew Robathan was moved from his post as junior minister at the Ministry of Defence to replace Mike Penning, who moved to the Department of Work and Pensions in a Government reshuffle.
There had been speculation that Ms Villiers may herself be moved as part of the reshuffle, but that proved to be unfounded.
Mr Robathan is a former Coldstream Guard. His Paliamentary biography lists Northern Ireland as one of five areas of interest.
Elsewhere, the Ulster-born Liberal Democrat Michael Moore lost his post as Scottish Secretary, with the more combative Alistair Carmichael taking over in a position crucial during the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum.
Another Lib Dem, Home Office minister Jeremy Browne, also lost his job as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg wielded the knife while David Cameron moved to promote more women and northern MPs. In one of the biggest shocks so far, Mr Browne — on the right of the party and touted by some as a future leader — was replaced by Transport Minister Norman Baker.
Mr Cameron avoided changes to his Cabinet – but handed promotions to women MPs including Esther McVey and Nicky Morgan, who becomes economic secretary to the Treasury.
Meanwhile, as part of a Labour reshuffle yesterday, shadow secretary of state Vernon Coaker was promoted to shadow defence secretary. He has been replaced by Ivan Lewis.