The chief executive of the SDLP has resigned just a month before the party’s annual conference.
But the party has insisted the unexpected departure of Michael Savage (44) is no signal of internal tensions.
Instead, a spokesman said Mr Savage had worked a few months beyond the end of his three-year contract and is leaving to pursue other opportunities.
Mr Savage introduced Club SDLP which was described as “an exciting new initiative aimed at assisting the party to rebuild for the future” and was aimed at providing the necessary funding for the party to revitalise its organisational structure.
His term included the election of the two most recent leaders, Margaret Ritchie and Alasdair McDonnell, and saw the party coffers recover to a surplus of £90,000 in the most recent accounts. He is expected to attend the party’s three-day gathering in Armagh next month.