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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 12:20 GMT
Paisley resigns 'with humility'
Ian Paisley Jr resigned from the executive
Ian Paisley Jr resigned from the executive
The DUP's Ian Paisley Jnr has said he has left his executive post with "deep humility" but in good spirits.

He resigned as a junior minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly last week.

It followed criticism over his links to developer Seymour Sweeney and controversy over some lobbying activity.

Mr Paisley has strongly denied any allegations of wrongdoing. Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson will be sworn into the junior minister's post later.

Mr Paisley told the assembly he had informed the Office of First and Deputy First Minister of his resignation and had been "proud to serve my country".

"I leave with high hopes, good spirit, deep humility and with gratefulness in my heart," he said.

We had evidence of vanity in some of the statements that were being made last week so I welcome the expression of humility today
Mark Durkan
SDLP leader

Mr Paisley is to continue in his role as an assembly member for North Antrim.

Following his brief resignation speech, his father, Ian Paisley senior, paid tribute to his son's contribution to the government.

"I would just like to say as the first minister a word of thanks from the members of the office, of my own office and the deputy's, our thanks to my son Ian for the hard work he did while he was in office and we wish him well in the future."

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said Mr Paisley and his father played a "very key role" in the work to restore the political institutions, but said he left with many questions still unanswered.

Jeffrey Donaldson
Jeffrey Donaldson is expected to replace Mr Paisley

"I think it also serves, sad though it is for the member and his family, to highlight the unacceptable behaviour of some parties and members in this assembly," he said.

"Sinn Fein will be seeking to end the practice whereby members can use public monies to rent properties from family members and other practices like this."

Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Mark Durkan said: "I note the expression from Mr Paisley this morning of deep humility and I welcome that, because we all know the saying that pride comes before a fall.

"We had evidence of vanity in some of the statements that were being made last week so I welcome the expression of humility today."

Alliance leader David Ford said: "I too would wish to recognise that in the manner of his resignation statement Mr Paisley has redeemed a little of what went before.

"There are clearly many issues that will now need to be addressed by the executive to ensure we do not run into similar problems in the future for other ministers and to ensure that the highest standards of probity are maintained."

Reaction to Paisley Jnr resignation
18 Feb 08 |  Northern Ireland
Paisley Jr reports 'not evidence'
03 Feb 08 |  Northern Ireland
Paisley Jr admits he made mistake
16 Jan 08 |  Northern Ireland
Call for Paisley land deal probe
10 Dec 07 |  Northern Ireland
Paisley 'lobbied for land deal'
06 Dec 07 |  Northern Ireland

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