A veteran Ulster Unionist politician has said that he will not seek re-election to the assembly.
Dermot Nesbitt has told his party he will not seek re-election
South Down assembly member Dermot Nesbitt, 59, has told his party he wants to do other things.
Mr Nesbitt, environment minister in the Trimble administration, has been active in electoral politics since the 1970s.
As a young unionist he was the election agent for Brian Faulkner in the years 1973 to 1977. Outside the political arena he qualified as a pilot in 1972.
He was a member of Down District Council from 1981 to 1989 and in 1996 Mr Nesbitt was elected to the Northern Ireland Forum, and became a member of the Ulster Unionist negotiating team.
He helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement and Mr Nesbitt was one of its staunchest defenders.
Mr Nesbitt told the BBC on Wednesday it had been "a privilege to be involved in politics from Brian Faulkner right through to Sir Reg Empey".
"But you reach a position where you now say it is time to step aside, and then you actually take that decision."
Mr Nesbitt said he was only "a minor cog in a big wheel that has been trying to make progress against a backcloth of 30 years, even 40 years, of violence".
Before entering politics full-time, Mr Nesbitt was an academic, lecturing in finance at Queen's University, Belfast.
He was head of the university's Department of Accountancy and Finance from 1990 to 1998.
It was at QUB that he graduated with a BSC (first Class) in 1974, having been educated previously at Down High School.
It was while at Queen's that one of the tragic events of his life occurred.
He was standing chatting to friend and colleague, Edgar Graham, an Ulster Unionist law lecturer at Queen's, when he was murdered by the IRA in 1983.
Mr Nesbitt married his wife Oriel in 1970.
The couple have two children, Andrew and Elaine.
Outside politics and international relations, Mr Nesbitt's interests include motor racing, the cinema and flying.
Meanwhile, a council by-election takes place in Coleraine on Wednesday to replace the former mayor, Dessie Stewart, who was jailed for four months for electoral fraud.
Mr Stewart resigned from the DUP and the council following his conviction last month.