The former Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton has announced he will step down as an MLA to take up a role with the Belfast Chamber
Speaking about his departure, DUP Leader Arlene Foster said;
I have known Simon as a friend and colleague for many years. He has played an important and positive role both within the DUP and particularly during his time within the Northern Ireland Executive. Whilst I am disappointed to be losing Simon as a Party colleague and as an elected representative I know he is taking on a role which will allow him to continue working to make Belfast and Northern Ireland the very best place to live, visit and particularly to do business.
Whether as a local Councillor, Assembly Member or as a Minister in the Executive Simon has been an effective and dedicated public representative. He made a positive impact across all three Departments in which he served as Minister, and was at the forefront of vital programmes including the Bengoa Report which has laid the groundwork for transformation of our Health Service. I want to pay tribute to Simon for everything he has contributed during his time in the political arena.
The DUP shares many of the aims of the Belfast Chamber and I look forward to continuing that good working relationship into the future. Belfast is key to the economic prosperity of Northern Ireland and it is vital that government and political parties work with the private sector to deliver that success.
The Party will commence a process shortly to select Mr Hamilton’s replacement in Strangford.”
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs