Page last updated at 21:17 GMT, Monday, 10 May 2010 22:17 UK

NI reaction to Brown announcement

Gordon Brown and Brian Cowen
Gordon Brown and Brian Cowen played an integral role in the Hillsborough talks

Northern Ireland parties have reacted to Gordon Brown's announcement that he will step down as Labour leader.

Justice minister and Alliance leader David Ford paid tribute to Mr Brown's involvement in "cementing peace and devolving justice".

SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie said that Mr Brown said he had been "a strong supporter" of the Good Friday Agreement and the devolved institutions.

However, she also admitted that her party had some disagreements with him.

She added: "As the leader of our sister party, the SDLP has always enjoyed a healthy, professional and positive relationship with Gordon Brown.


"Gordon Brown was a man who wanted to deal in solutions rather than hearing problems from politicians in the North.

"However, that is not to say we have had our differences and we have made it clear for example our unhappiness with elements of the Hillsborough Arrangement and we refused to involve ourselves in any deals on civil liberty legislation."

Earlier, Mr Brown announced that Labour would be beginning formal talks with the Liberal Democrats about the possibility of forming a coalition.

However, he said that, regardless of the outcome, he would be stepping down as Labour leader by September.

Mr Ford said Mr Brown's role in Northern Ireland should be recognised.

He added: "The central role he played in providing a financial package for the devolution of justice is indicative of his commitment.

"The effort he put into making a deal during the Hillsborough talks also must be commended and I want to wish him well for the future."

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