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Ex-Speaker Willie Hay takes seat in House of Lords

By Trevor Mason

A former Speaker of the Assembly has taken his seat in the House of Lords.

Lord Hay of Ballyore stepped down from as Speaker last October due to ill-health. He was succeeded on Monday by Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin - who made history by becoming Northern Ireland's first republican Speaker.

Formerly known as Willie Hay, Lord Hay will sit on the crossbenches.

He was a DUP member of Derry City Council from 1981-2010 and a member for Foyle in the Assembly from 1998.

Lord Hay (64) was flanked by DUP supporters Lord Morrow and Lord Browne of Belmont as he took the oath of allegiance to the Queen.

"When I first entered politics in Londonderry, I would never have imagined the opportunities which have been presented to me, particularly in recent years," he said.

"It has been a great privilege to serve all the people of Londonderry for over 35 years, a city which I am very proud to call home, and to have been able to serve the Northern Ireland Assembly as Speaker since 2007."

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