EAST Lancashire MP Andrew Stephenson has been given a new government job including responsibility for the the aerospace industry and advanced manufacturing.

The Pendle Tory was made a junior business minister at the weekend in a mini-reshuffle prompted by two Brexit resignations.

He had previously been a government whip responsible for party discipline at Westminster.

His constituency has many firms in the aerospace industry and its supply chain including two Rolls Royce plants in Barnoldswick.

Several other companies in East Lancashire - including BAE Systems military aircraft division at Samlesbury -are also involved in the sector.

His responsibilities include industrial strategy, the automotive and nuclear industries, infrastructure and construction, professional services, and supply chains.

The appointment has been welcomed by his Ribble Valley Tory colleague Nigel Evans and Burnley Labour MP Julie Cooper.

Mr Stephenson said: "I am pleased.

"Having run a small business, this is an area where I have real-world experience and a desire to make a difference.

"My maiden speech focused on manufacturing and skills and it is exciting to have the opportunity to work on these issues.

"Representing Pendle, with the highest proportion of people working in manufacturing anywhere in England, I am looking forward to being able to lead on rebalancing the UK economy.

"Many of the areas I expect to cover are important to Pendle and the wider Lancastrian economy.

"That is certainly true of aerospace – a sector I know well from working with Rolls-Royce on investing in their Barnoldswick sites – and advanced manufacturing.

"I’m particularly excited to be responsible for pubs policy."

Burnley Labour MP Julie Cooper said: "I would like to congratulate Mr Stephenson on his appointment, Burnley and Pendle both need a strong voice on aerospace and advanced manufacturing in government."

Ribble Valley Tory MP Nigel Evans said: "This is a great appointment as Andrew has first-class experience of Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and the hundreds of other smaller supplier firms who are based in East Lancashire."

He added: "Having two ministers, including Rossendale and Darwen's Jake Berry responsible for the Northern Powerhouse, batting for our area gives us extra leverage with government."