David Ford said: “This Ministerial post was always Alliance’s given that our improved number of MLAs means that the people’s votes have decided that we are entitled to this post.
“The UUP’s cheap move to steal our position has failed and failure is all that this desperate act from them deserved.
“David McClarty has made the right decision and shown his integrity. It clearly reflects the wish of the people of East Londonderry, who elected him as an Independent and totally rebuffed the UUP.
“This has been a brilliant election for Alliance and I am so pleased that people voting for change has delivered real change at the heart of the Executive at Stormont.”