MLA Jimmy Spratt set to step down for health reasons
A former Police Federation chairman who became a DUP MLA is stepping down from the Assembly.
Jimmy Spratt is to retire at the end of September following a lengthy and very public battle with bowel cancer.
And yesterday the 64-year-old South Belfast Member confirmed his decision is on health grounds rather than any other reasons.
Mr Spratt, who will be 65 in August, said: "My health must take precedence over the unrelenting nature of an MLA's schedule.
"The role demands my attention seven days per week and many meetings take place late in the evening. To make a full recovery it is essential that my workload is lessened."
On his illness, which was diagnosed in 2011, Mr Spratt has warned people are dying of "embarrassment" rather than coming forward for treatment.
A former police officer who became chair of the rank-and-file Police Federation for several years, Mr Spratt was elected to the former Castlereagh Borough Council and has represented South Belfast at the Stormont Assembly since 2007.