Paul Givan has announced his resignation as First Minister

Paul Givan has announced his resignation as First Minister paving the way for the collapse of the Stormont Executive.

"It has been the privilege of my lifetime to serve as the First Minister of Northern Ireland. When I first entered the Assembly 12 years ago I never expected to have the opportunity to lead the government and serve the people of NI as First Minister.

"Holding this office is one that comes with a heavy responsibility and I have often felt the weight of this burden to do what is right for all our people," he said, speaking at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Belfast.

Describing himself as a 'committed devolutionist' who hoped the Executive he cited the Withdrawal Agreement and Protocol as the reason for his resignation.

Paul Givan

"Our institutions are being tested once again and delicate balance created by the Belfast and St. Andrews agreements has been impacted by the agreement made by the UK Government and the European Union which created the NI Protocol.

"The consent principle is a corner stone of the Belfast Agreement and it is my earnest desire that all section of the community will soon be able to give consent to the restoration of a fully functioning Executive through a resolution to the issues that have regrettably brought us to this point," he said.