Northern Ireland

Mitchel McLaughlin to accept Commonwealth Parliamentary Association role

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Media captionMitchel McLaughlin said he was not a Sinn Féin speaker, but a speaker for every single MLA

Sinn Féin's Mitchel McLaughlin has announced he will take up the position of President of the NI Assembly Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).

The Assembly Speaker says support for the Commonwealth is not part of his personal politics.

However, he said he wanted his approach during his time as Speaker to be about "respect".

He did not comment on whether Ireland should become part of the Commonwealth.

"In upholding the independence and impartiality of the Speaker, my approach during my time in office is going to be one of respect," he added.

"Involvement in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association has naturally not been part of my political life in the past.

"However, I will represent all sides of the House as any Speaker should and I intend to respect and acknowledge the culture and traditions of all sides of the assembly chamber.

"Taking up this position is a first step in demonstrating that approach. I look forward to hosting next week's event to mark Commonwealth Day and its theme of encouraging youth participation in our democratic system."

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