DUP MLA for Foyle and Speaker of the Assembly, William Hay, has officially announced his intention to stand down.
Mr Hay is currently absent from Stormont recovering from a heart problem.
In a letter read in the Assembly on Monday, he said he had hoped to announce his decision in person but could not attend because of ill-health.
Mr. Hay was recently elevated to the House of Lords.
SDLP Chief Whip and Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey paid tribute to Mr. Hay a
Mr Ramsey said: “Willie Hay has made an immense contribution to civic life both in Derry and across the North. In his former role as a councillor, he was a fierce advocate for the people of this city and while we came from different traditions, I was always very happy to work alongside him and to later count him as a friend. His work, particularly toward achieving a resolution to parading, will long be remembered and respected.
“He brought his passion for the city to the Assembly following his election in 1998 and since the restoration of power sharing in 2007 he has served tirelessly as Speaker. I may not have always agreed with his rulings but there can be no doubt that he exercised his office robustly and with fairness. His attitude toward, and occasional scolding of, his own party colleagues demonstrates that he approached the difficult role with equality and parity of treatment at the core of all that he did.
“As he steps down from his position in the Assembly, I’m sure he will remain actively involved in civic life. He was hugely proud to have been nominated for a position in the House of Lords recently. And again, while we may have differing attitudes on that, I have no doubt that he will continue to act as an advocate for Derry and Northern Ireland.”