Published Friday, 09 March 2012
It is clear he could take no more of the plotting and briefing and decided to settle for a life on the Assembly backbenches.
The race is now on for his successor and time is short.
Nominations have to be in by Friday 16 March with the party AGM on 31 March taking the final decision.
It is time for big decisions to be taken.
Danny Kennedy would be many people's favourite but he is currently a Minister and clearly enjoys the job. Being leader and Minister could prove difficult.
Mike Nesbitt has little experience but has excellent communication skills and could attract support from those seeking change.
Doubtless there will be some serious talking between Nesbitt and Kennedy in the coming hours.
Basil McCrea lost in the leadership battle with Tom Elliott in September 2010 and maintains a high profile.
But his close friend John McCallister is now deputy leader and may well fancy a punt for the top job.
Other names mentioned include Danny Kinahan and even Michael McGimpsey but these are outsiders.
The race is on.
Watch this space!