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Tuesday 6 June 2023 Dublin: 15°C
PA NI Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris arrives in Downing Street ahead of a Cabinet meeting Tuesday.
Northern Ireland Secretary explains to Elon Musk what ‘tosh’ means after debunking bogus email
The NI Secretary has also warned that there is a ‘very, very big budget black hole in Northern Ireland’s finances’.

LAST UPDATE | Nov 10th 2022, 1:26 PM

THE NORTHERN IRELAND Secretary has explained to Twitter’s new owner what “tosh” means, after he used the term when dismissing a scam email that claimed he had resigned.

Chris Heaton-Harris said he was the victim of a fake email that was sent to newsrooms yesterday and claimed he resigned due to “personal reasons”.

The email was sent from an address claiming to be the Northern Ireland Office.

However, Heaton-Harris quickly clarified that this was not the case and dismissed the fake email as “utter tosh”. 

“Someone has sent a fake e-mail to press outlets saying I’ve resigned,” Heaton-Harris wrote in a tweet.

“This is totally untrue. I hope one of @elonmusk first moves is to eliminate fake news on Twitter. Very exciting I know, but complete and utter tosh.”

However, Elon Musk replied to Heaton-Harris to ask: “What does a tosh look like?”

Heaton-Harris replied with a screenshot confirming that “tosh” refers to something that is “rubbish” or “nonsense”.

The NI Secretary later joked on Twitter that “tosh” could describe “the content of my speeches”. 

Meanwhile, Heaton-Harris, who became NI Secretary in September, has said there is a “very big budget black hole” in Northern Ireland’s finances.

Speaking to Kay Burley on Sky News this morning, he was also questioned on his decision to extend the deadline for calling a fresh election in Northern Ireland.

Yesterday, Heaton-Harris announced that he is to extend the deadline for calling a fresh Stormont election by six weeks, with an option to extend it by a further six weeks.

It means the current 19 January deadline will be further extended and, assuming this second extension is not availed of, an election would need to take place before 2 March.

Speaking to Sky News this morning, he said: “Forgive me for being a politician that listens to people, but I did.

“At one minute past midnight on 28 October, the responsibility of all ministers disappeared in Northern Ireland. There’s a very, very big budget black hole in Northern Ireland’s finances and all those responsibilities fell to me.

“I’ve been talking to all the political parties, I’ve been talking to businesses, to community groups, to ordinary folk on the streets, and no-one wanted an election.

“I’ve now done something that creates the time and space for conversations to take place, so the executive hopefully can reform and for conversations to take place between the UK Government and the European Commission to try and solve one of the biggest obstacles to that.”

Heaton-Harris also announced plans yesterday to cut the pay of Assembly members by close to 30%.

“People across Northern Ireland are frustrated that the members of the legislative assembly (MLA) continue to draw a full salary whilst not performing all of the duties they were elected to do,” he said.

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