Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Monday, 12 April 2010 13:39 UK

New Northern Ireland justice minister set to be named

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From BBC Democracy Live: Justice Minister appointment

Stormont assembly members are voting to appoint a new justice minister.

The successful candidate will be the first Northern Ireland politician to take responsibility for justice and policing in 38 years.

The Ulster Unionists nominated Danny Kennedy but he failed to attract the necessary cross community support.

The SDLP's Alban Maginness also failed to get the necessary support so the Alliance leader David Ford is certain to take the job.

Mr Ford will be in charge of a department with more than 4,000 employees and a budget of almost £1.5bn.

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He will be the first local justice minister since Westminster took policing powers away from the old Stormont government back in 1972.

Disagreement on the timing of the devolution of the justice powers had threatened to collapse Northern Ireland's power-sharing administration.

In February, Northern Ireland's two main parties, the DUP and Sinn Fein, in discussions at Hillsborough, County Down, reached an agreement which will see a justice minister elected.

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

Stormont Live will be covering this story on BBC Two Northern Ireland from 1415 BST



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