Claire Sugden is new Justice Minister

Independent Unionist Claire Sugden
Independent Unionist Claire Sugden

East Londonderry Independent unionist MLA Claire Sugden is Northern Ireland’s new Justice Minister.

Ms Sugden, 29, succeeds Alliance Party leader David Ford, who turned down the job.

Her appointment, after over a week of uncertainty, means that a new Northern Ireland Executive can now be formed.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers had warned that unless a justice minister was appointed by next Wednesday fresh Assembly elections would have to be held.

The Ulster Unionist Party and the SDLP are to form the opposition at Stormont.

Ms Sugden will join a government the remainder of which will be made up of DUP and Sinn Fein MLAs.