Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Ford to run for justice minister

Mr Ford said the decision to nominate had been "almost unanimous".

Alliance Party leader David Ford has announced his intention to stand for the postion of justice minister at the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Mr Ford has been favourite for the post after Sinn Fein and the DUP said they would not fill the role.

Under the Hillsborough Castle Agreement the responsibilities for policing and justice are to be devolved by 12 April.

Earlier this week, the first and deputy first minister announced an agreed community relations strategy.

The strategy formed part of the discussions around the policing and justice deal reached at Hillsborough earlier this month.

The Alliance Party had called for the strategy as part of their price for taking the justice position.

At a news conference Mr Ford said the decision had been "almost unanimous".

Two other potential Alliance candidates, the deputy leader Naomi Long and Stephen Farry, ruled themselves out of going for the position.

So far, the SDLP are the only other party to put a candidate for the post forward.

They have chosen North Belfast MLA, barrister Alban Maginness.

The new minister's responsibilities will include policing, the courts, public prosecution service and prisons.

The Hillsborough agreement allows for the first and deputy first ministers to identify a candidate who would command cross-community support in the assembly.

The Ulster Unionists and the SDLP have insisted Alliance has no right to the post under the d'Hondt system for selecting ministers, which was agreed in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.



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