I advise members that I have been notified that Ms Margaret Ritchie has tendered her resignation as Minister for Social Development to the First Minister and deputy First Minister in accordance with section 18(9)(a) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. The resignation is effective from today.
In accordance with section 18(10) of the Act, Mr Alex Attwood has been nominated to hold the office of Minister for Social Development. Mr Attwood affirmed the terms of the Pledge of Office, as set out in schedule 4 to the Act, in the presence of the Clerk to the Assembly/Director General and me this morning. I therefore confirm that Mr Attwood has taken up office as Minister for Social Development. As a result of his appointment as Minister, Mr Attwood ceases to be a member of the Assembly Commission. A vacancy now exists on the Commission.