NORTH Antrim Assemblyman Robin Swann is stepping down as Ulster Unionist Party leader.
In a statement on Monday the party said Mr Swann had informed the Party Chairman, Lord Empey, that he will not be submitting his name for re-election as Party Leader at the next Annual General Meeting.
Mr Swann said: “Over the last number of months I have been reflecting on my position as leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and the impact it has on my role as a husband and a father.
“I have concluded that one is taking up the lion’s share of my time to the detriment of the other. It is unfair to my young family to allow this to continue.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to lead the Ulster Unionist Party and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to do so. I have informed the Party Chair that I will not be submitting my name for re-election at the next Annual General Meeting of the party.
“The Ulster Unionist Party faces its challenges, but I am determined in my remaining time as leader to bring forward the changes required to make it a competitive electoral force once again.
“I believe that it is more important than ever for the Ulster Unionist Party to fight back to help secure and strengthen support for the Union.
“I will continue to serve the party loyally and faithfully as our Assembly Member in North Antrim, an area which has been devastated by recent job losses. There is a huge amount of work to be done as an elected member.
“I want to thank party members for their support over the last number of years. I also want to thank my wife Jenny and my children, Freya and Evan, for all the love and support they have given me, and without whom it would not have been possible to do the job I do.”