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.