Assembly Speaker announces that he will step down at the next election

The current Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly Mitchel McLaughlin has announced that he step down as an MLA at the next election.

He served as an MLA for Foyle between 1998-2007 and South Antrim since 2007.

Announcing his decision to the Assembly today 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 Halloween 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.



  • the rich get richer

    Maybe Gerry and Martin might start to consider that they are relatively old men also.

  • Ernekid

    I think its time for a lot of MLAs who are well into their 60s to step down soon. Northern Irish politics is becoming the preserve of old men who’ve been in politics for decades and are stuck in the same old mindsets. Its time for a bit of a turnover and get some newer people with some new ideas in power.

  • Granni Trixie

    We need new blood, of any age.

  • SDLP supporter

    Martin and Gerry aren’t going anywhere soon, which fact is gradually dawning on 46 year old Mary Lou McDonald and that young whippersnapper Pearse Doherty. The SF leadership of ex-military men-Martin McG, Gerry A, Pat D, Gerry K, Bobby S etc.-will hang on like the waxworks Kremlin museum nomenklatura of the Brezhnev era. They have no time for the young bucks with politics degrees from Ulster University.

    Mitchel was dispensable with. He was not a military man and the nearest he got to trouble was as head of Cumann na mBan (Women’s IRA).

  • chrisjones2

    What are you suggesting!!!! There is no link between SF and the IRA or even the Weemin’s IRA which is devoted to knitting socks and tea cozys in various combinations of green white and orange (but not so much orange)

  • Gopher

    I think Mitchell tired of dogma and quite enjoyed his Swansong as Speaker were he could enjoy more latitude of thought and deed. It must have been quite hard for him as it always is for people with a certain level of inteligence to be elected and stifled. South Antrim was going to be a tough fight for him as it looks like he was going to come in under quota. More dignified to retire at 70 than wait to see if the SDLP give you 700 votes, scrambling like that is a young mans game.

  • Roger

    With all due respect, I think that’s ageist rubbish.

  • Roger

    Agree. Of any age.

  • Gopher

    When you get in over quota its better to retire on top when you are at 70. Its sad to see an old pro drop divisions. Below quota is were you cut your teeth it is for the youngsters. Just look at a certain SDLP MLA who scraps home in a safe nationalist Belfast seat election after election until he loses it in the next. Your just keeping the future out of a job.