McLaughlin to stand down

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Mitchel McLaughlin has announced he will be standing down as Speaker of the Assembly just over a year after William Hay left the post.

The Sinn Féin MLA announced that he would not be seeking re-election to the Assembly in South Antrim and consequently would also not be seeking re-election as Speaker.

He said: “I know it is no secret to many Members but I want to publicly put it on the record today that I will be stepping down as a Member of this Assembly at the end of this mandate. I will not therefore be seeking re-election as Speaker.

“I turned 70 during the Hallowe’en recess and I look forward to the opportunity to doing some other things outside of this Assembly.

“However, there will be plenty of time to be reflective at a later point and I am making this announcement at this stage only to show proper courtesy to the House.

“There is a lot of work in front of all of us in the next few months. There are a lot of issues I still want to try and make progress on with not much time to do it.

“However, I am particularly focused on managing the heavy legislative workload which I am expecting to confront us in the months ahead. That will be challenging and I will be speaking to the Business Committee about it today.”