THE Northern Ireland peace deal hung in the balance last night after the PM axed its architect.
Ultra-loyal Brandon Lewis — previously Security Minister — was appointed as his successor.
The Government’s commitment to the “New Decade, New Approach” deal was immediately questioned.
Mr Smith’s relationships with parties across the spectrum had been seen as key.
Mr Lewis last month failed to fully commit to the Historical Investigations Unit — part of the deal to win Sinn Fein’s support — amid fears it would reopen Troubles probes into thousands of vets.
Sources said Boris Johnson fired Mr Smith in his reshuffle yesterday in revenge for his disloyalty over Brexit.
The Remainer had been a critic of the PM’s deal, warning a border down the Irish Sea would be disruptive.
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He was also said to have opposed the attempt to rush it through Parliament in three days in October.
A source said: “The PM made it clear the decision was more around the clash over Brexit policy and prorogation.
“That was the crux of it and his fate was sealed.”