David Ford MLA said: “I am pleased that the Assembly has elected a new Speaker, however it is a case of better late than never. The DUP will claim otherwise, but there was no reason why they could not have supported Mitchel McLaughlin last year. As a consequence, we had the embarrassing situation where the Assembly had no Speaker for several months.
“When we last discussed this issue, I said that there was much work to be done to improve the level of maturity in the Assembly so that agreements between parties are honoured. Thankfully progress has been made on this issue.
“I would like to offer Mitchel McLaughlin our best wishes as he takes up his new position and I am confident that he will carry out his duties in the same impartial manner in which he carried out his role as Principal Deputy Speaker.
“I would also like to pay tribute once again to his predecessor William Hay for the contribution he made to the Assembly and wish him well following his illness.”