“We often disagreed, sometimes robustly, but the role of Secretary of State is mostly a thankless task and I appreciate, particularly in the current political circumstances, it is not an easy role to fulfil. On behalf of my colleagues and I, I wish James well for the future and I hope and trust he will soon return to full health.
“Obviously, this resignation, coming at a time when parties expected to be moving into a more intensive phase of negotiations about restoration, creates a break in continuity in the Northern Ireland Office.
“However, whilst any new Secretary of State will need some time to develop relationships and an understanding of the current state of play, it is important planned talks proceed as quickly as possible.
“We have been without government for too long already and must ensure this impasse is speedily resolved. Alliance stands ready to work with whomever is appointed as his successor to ensure fresh momentum and direction is injected into the search for an accommodation.”