He said: “When I first became involved in politics full time, as general secretary of the Alliance Party, Peter Robinson had already been a Member of Parliament for 10 years – that is a measure of an extremely long and very significant career.
“Of course during this time, his party and mine have had many disagreements, but today I want to recognise his commitment to the political process and the work that he has undertaken, as a deputy to Ian Paisley, and as the leader of the DUP in his own right.
“Aside from his career as First Minister, Peter Robinson also had a major role as Minister of Finance and played a vital role in seeing how matters were put into order for the restoration of devolution in 2007.
“There is no doubt that during his time in politics the Assembly has survived some very significant trials and ordeals, and over the years he has played his part in these. I want to wish him well for the future as he continues to play an active role in public life.”