Seamus Mallon today announced his resignation as Deputy First Minister with immediate effect in a "personal statement" before the Assembly chamber. Mr Mallon said that the key element of the pledge taken by the First Minister and himself were their commitment to work in good faith to bring into being the arrangements set out in the Good Friday Agreement. Mr Mallon said he had tried “every move in the book” and outside of it to try and bring this about. He accused the Ulster Unionist Party of using this crisis to bleed more concessions out of the Government to "bleed this very process dry". He said it was a matter of great regret that others could not respond to the relentless efforts of the two governments. Regrettably, he said, more in sorrow than in anger, those efforts had not just been spurned, but they had been scorned.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Ulster Unionists, David Trimble confirmed his party's intention to boycott this morning's meeting of the Assembly at Stormont. Speaking in Glengall Streeet at UUP headquarters, Mr Trimble said his party believed it was premature to form a shadow administration at this time and consequently the Ulster Unionists would not be nominating any ministers to the executive this morning. He added that did not think this would necessarily be the end of the peace process, saying "We can still succeed even if we have to park the process and review it". Mr Trimble went on to say that he and the Ulster Unionists would be reviewing the situation, thinking it through and preparing for the next stage.

At this morning's Stormont meeting, the assembly's speaker, Lord Alderdice, attempted to trigger the D'Hondt mechanism - the next stage in setting up a power-sharing executive. He invited assembly members to nominate ministers to the executive, but then declared the appointments invalid because only nationalist parties were represented. Ten ministers designate were appointed to the Northern Assembly's Cabinet in the absence of the UUP. The appointees are all Assembly members for the SDLP or Sinn Fein. The Ulster Unionists boycotted the assembly, and the DUP, the UKUP and the Alliance Party all declined to nominate candidates for the Assembly's first cabinet.

The SDLP nominated Mark Durkan as Minster Designate for Finance; Sean Farren as Minster Designate for Regional Development; Brid Rodgers as Minster Designate for Higher Education and Training; Dr Joe Hendron as Minister Designate for Social Services and Public Safety; Denis Haughey as Minister Designate for Social Development; and Alban Maginnis as Minister Designate for the Environment. Sinn Féin nominated Bairbre de Brun as Minister Designate for Enterprise, Trade and Investment; Martin McGuinness as Minister Designate for Agriculture; Pat Doherty as Minister Designate for Education; and Mary Nelis as Minister Designate for Culture, Arts and Leisure. However, power cannot be devolved to the Executive as it does not contain at least three Unionists, as required by legislation.