William Hay is to step down as speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly and has been appointed to the House of Lords.
The veteran DUP man confirmed his appointment to the Lords in a statement released this morning.
“I am delighted but humbled by today’s appointment,” he said.
“When I first entered politics in Londonderry, I would never have imagined that I would have had the opportunities which have been presented to me, particularly in recent years.
“It had been a great privilege for me to have been able to serve all the people of Londonderry for over 35 years, a city which I am very proud to call home, and have been have been able to serve the Northern Ireland Assembly as Speaker since 2007.
“Both those roles have their challenges, and there certainly have been many times which have not been easy, but I am conscious that I could not have done them without the support of others, whether it be from family, friends, constituents, colleague from my own party or indeed other parties, Assembly staff and others.
“I take this appointment as a tribute to that support for which I am extremely grateful and I look forward to continuing to represent Londonderry and Northern Ireland in the House of Lords in the future.
It is believed that Mr Hay’s successor as speaker in the Northern Ireland Assembly will be Sinn Fein’s Mitchell McLaughlin.