On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The resignation of the First Minister has taken place today, and the appointment of a new First Minister is critical to the Assembly. I wish to make it clear that I am ready to nominate a First Minister at the earliest opportunity, and I encourage that to happen. It is important that we respect each other's mandates. In order to deal with important COVID issues, the Executive can meet on Thursday only if we have a First Minister and deputy First Minister. There cannot be a North/South Ministerial Council meeting on Friday without a First Minister and deputy First Minister. Time is of the essence in getting this work done. I encourage you, Speaker, to ensure that that is the case.
The Member will be aware that, this morning, I wrote to the Business Committee; indeed, I wrote to all Members. I wrote to the Business Committee to advise it formally of the resignation and of the legal requirement to have an opportunity to appoint the First Minister and deputy First Minister within seven days. In my correspondence with the Business Committee, I said that, as it meets tomorrow afternoon, setting a date and arranging a sitting of the Assembly to address that matter within seven days will be on the agenda. I also made it clear that if, at any time, including today, the Business Committee indicates that it can take a decision on the matter, I am happy to meet at any time to do that.
However, as I have said, the legal obligation on this House is to address the issue of the appointment of the First Minister and the deputy First Minister within seven days. I anticipate that that is the agenda that we are working towards.
Thank you for your point of order.