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Summary

  1. MLAs re-appointed the DUP's Arlene Foster as First Minister and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin as deputy First Minister.
  2. MLAs signed the roll of membership.
  3. They also elected the speaker and deputy speakers, as well as the Business Committee.

Live Reporting

By Robin Sheeran and Brooke Allen

All times stated are UK

Good afternoon

The speaker adjourns the assembly. 

That's it from the first day of the new mandate at the Northern Ireland Assembly. 

The next meeting of the assembly has yet to be confirmed. 

Good afternoon. 

Motion: Appointment of Business Committee

The speaker proposes that the following MLAs shall be appointed as members of the Business Committee - Robin Newton (DUP), Alex Attwood (SDLP), Trevor Clarke (DUP), Stewart Dickson (Alliance), Gerry Kelly (Sinn Féin), Colin McGrath (SDLP), Sandra Overend (UUP), Caitríona Ruane (Sinn Féin), Robin Swann (UUP) and Peter Weir (DUP). 

The motion passes on an oral vote. 

Reaction to official opposition

Colum Eastwood
BBC

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood says they have some work to do before making any decisions.

He says "we would love to see a programme for government we can sign up to, but if we cannot, we will go into opposition". 

Alliance party leader David Ford congratulates Mr Nesbitt on the "sound bite of the day". 

"Some of us recognise that government is a bit more substantial than the sound bite of the day" he says. 

UUP form the first official opposition

Mike Nesbitt
BBC

Ulster Unionist leader, Mike Nesbitt, says the first and deputy first minister will not have the support of his party at the executive table, as the "Ulster Unionist MLA group have unanimously decided to form the first official opposition of this Northern Ireland Assembly".

"This is a big and bold move to bring a better and a more normal democracy to the people of Northern Ireland - let battle commence!", he says. 

'Deliver for the people we represent'

mARTIN mCgUINNESS
BBC

Mr McGuinness congratulates Mrs Foster on her appointment and says they have had a good start but "there is more work to be done". 

"I am a very proud, unapologetic Irish Republican", he says. "I do believe in bringing the green and orange together and the white of peace in the middle. I do respect the people on the other side of the house whose colours are red, white and blue". 

He says "the challenge for Arlene and myself, and for other ministers, is for us to continue with the good start, to recognise the importance of working together, building new relationships, putting the past three years to the dustbin of history and moving on to deliver for the people we represent". 

'Determined to keep Northern Ireland moving forward'

In her speech, Mrs Foster says she is "determined to keep Northern Ireland moving forward". 

"I want everyone who lives here to be proud of this vibrant, beautiful part of the world", she says. "This positive ethos will be at the cornerstone of everything I do over the next five years". 

Appointment of First Minister and Deputy First Minister

Lord Morrow nominates Arlene Foster
BBC
Lord Morrow nominates Arlene Foster

The clerk reads the pledge of office. 

Mr Newton then calls on the DUP's nominating officer, Lord Morrow to nominate the first minister. 

He nominates his party leader, Arlene Foster, to the role of first minister. 

Mr Newton calls on Sinn Féin's nominating officer, Jennifer McCann to nominate the deputy first minister. 

Mrs McCann nominates her party leader, Martin McGuinness. 

Catríona Ruane elected as principal deputy speaker

Mr Allister says Catríona Ruane is the "most unsuitable person" for the role and her nomination is "an insult to the many victims of the IRA, whose volunteers she still defends". 

As the nomination does not pass on an oral vote, the house divides. 

Ms Ruane is elected on a cross-community vote.

Nomination of principal deputy speaker

Catríona Ruane
BBC
Catríona Ruane awaits the outcome of her nomination

Mr Newton asks for nominations for the position of principal deputy speaker. 

Martin McGuinness nominates his party colleague Catríona Ruane and Jennifer McCann seconds this. 

Mr McGuinness says "we look forward to the first woman speaker in the house since Eileen Bell". 

Mike Nesbitt says they will not be supporting this nomination as they wish to nominate Danny Kennedy. Jo-Anne Dobson once again seconds this nomination. 

Colum Eastwood says he cannot support the proposal as his party, the SDLP, believe that "the position does not have any point". 

Alliance Leader David Ford agrees that the position does not have any relevance and the TUV's Jim Allister says the post is "fictional" and has 'no powers'. 

Jim Allister votes against Catríona Ruane

The vote is put to the assembly and the TUV's Jim Allister votes against the election of Catríona Ruane as deputy speaker. 

The speaker calls a division.

As only one teller is nominated for the no vote, the ayes have it. 

Catríona Ruane is elected as deputy speaker. 

Patsy McGlone is also elected as deputy speaker. 

Danny Kennedy is the final MLA elected as deputy speaker. 

Robin Newton takes the seat

Robin Newton
BBC
Robin Newton calls for nominations

Mr Newton says he wants to "uphold the standards that his predecessors have set". 

"The people of Northern Ireland are looking to us", he says. "I want to prove to them that we are moving forward". 

Mr Newton asks for nominations for deputy speakers. 

Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness nominates his colleague Catríona Ruane for the post. Jennifer McCann seconds this nomination. 

The SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood nominates Patsy McGlone. He describes Mr McGlone as 'a champion of rural issues' and as someone who shows "wisdom and fairness". Alex Attwood seconds this. 

Finally, UUP leader Mike Nesbitt nominates Danny Kennedy and describes him as "a popular man and committed politicia"'. Jo-anne Dobson seconds this nomination. 

Nomination of DUP's Robin Newton

Arlene Foster
BBC
Arlene Foster proposes Robin Newton as speaker

The DUP's Arlene Foster nominates her party colleague, Robin Newton, for the post of speaker. Sammy Douglas seconds this. 

Mrs Foster says Robin Newton is a conciliator and 'will carry out his duties in a fashion that will be recognised as fair'. 

Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness firstly thanks the out-going speaker, Mr McLaughlin. 

He says Robin Newton will ensure that there is fairness in the assembly. 

Cross community support is demonstrated and the new speaker, Robin Newton, is elected. 

The speaker should be impartial

Mr McLaughin discusses the role of the speaker and says they should be impartial and take account of all the diverse views of this assembly. He wishes his successor good luck. 

Mr McLaughlin asks for nominations for the post of Speaker.

The candidate must be approved with cross-community support otherwise the question will be put in respect of the second candidate, and so on until a speaker is elected. 

The outgoing speaker's remarks

Mitchel McLaughlin
BBC

Members have returned to the chamber to continue with today's business. 

They will shortly elect a new speaker, principal deputy speaker and deputy speakers. 

The outgoing Speaker, Mitchel McLaughlin, remarks on how vital it is for the assembly "to be a part of the process of reconciliation and healing". 

He also commends the election of 50% more women to the assembly and says "there is much more work to be done on this". 

He thanks many of his colleagues including the three previous deputy speakers - Roy Beggs, John Dallat and Robin Newton - as well as the Assembly Commission. 

Mr McLaughlin also thanks the staff of the assembly. He says he has been a member since 1998, but only since becoming speaker has he "appreciated the work that goes on behind the scenes". 

Sitting suspended

MLAs have now signed the undertaking and the roll of membership. 

The speaker suspends the sitting. 

The plenary will reconvene at 14:00, when the members will return to elect a new speaker, principal deputy speaker and deputy speakers. 

The appointment of the first and deputy first ministers and the members of the Business Committee will also take place. 

Class of 2016

BBC's The View tweets pictures of MLAs arriving for their first day

3 missing ties!

Three MLAs, Eamon McCann, Gerry Carroll and Steven Agnew take advantage of Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin's ruling on attire. 

View more on twitter

PBPA members sign the roll

People Before Profit Alliance
BBC

Eamonn McCann and Gerry Carroll, sign the book as their party, the People Before Profit Alliance, makes its first appearance in the Stormont chamber.

Signing the undertaking and roll of membership

Full chamber at the Northern Ireland Assembly
BBC

Members are signing the undertaking and the roll of membership. 

After this, the Plenary will be suspended for one hour to allow the undertaking and the roll to be examined to ensure that members have taken their seats in accordance with standing orders and the Northern Ireland (Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan) Act 2016.

The undertaking

A clerk reads the words of a newly-introduced undertaking that members must sign.

It binds them "to undertake to support the rule of law unequivocally in word and deed" and to work to "achieve a society free of paramilitarism".

The Assembly is called to order

Trevor Reaney
BBC

Clerk to the Assembly Trevor Reaney calls the MLAs to order.

Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin then congratulates the members on their election, and introduces the signing of the roll of membership.

MLAs gather in the chamber

MLAs walking in to the chamber
BBC

There is a "first day of school" atmosphere as members gather in the chamber ahead of today's proceedings.

Today's order of business

Coming up today...

Today's Proceedings

BBC NI's political editor Mark Devenport outlines proceedings

Mark Devenport

BBC News NI Political Editor

Arlene Foster
Press Eye
DUP leader Arlene Foster awaits reappointment as first minister

The first substantive item will be signing the role of membership.

MLAs not only have to sign into the book but they also have to designate as unionist, nationalist or other.

Then it gets going again after lunch at around 14:30 with the election of the speaker.

All the speculation is that it will be DUP MLA Robin Newton, who was the principal deputy speaker in the outgoing assembly.

Behind him, there will probably be a Sinn Féin principal deputy speaker and probably then, SDLP and UUP deputy speakers, put in place behind that.

Around tea-time, the appointment of the first minister and deputy first minister will happen.

Technically they remained in their posts but they have to be reappointed.

They will then appoint a business committee and then conclude for the day.

Newton tipped to be new Speaker

Robin Newton
BBC
Robin Newton

One of the items on the agenda at Stormont today will be the election of a new speaker to replace Sinn Féin's Mitchel McLaughlin.

"All the speculation is that it will be DUP MLA Robin Newton, who was the principal deputy speaker in the outgoing assembly," BBC News NI's political editor Mark Devenport says. 

Good Morning

Parliament Buildings, Stormont
Press Eye
Parliament Buildings, Stormont

Welcome to our coverage of the new mandate at Stormont.

The Northern Ireland Assembly will meet for the first time today since the elections on 5 May.

Business will begin at 12 noon when all 108 MLAs will meet to sign the roll of membership, with 29 newly-elected members doing so for the first time. 

It is expected that the assembly will re-appoint Arlene Foster as first minister and Martin McGuinness as deputy first minister.

They will also elect a new speaker, replacing Mitchel McLaughlin who announced his retirement before the election.