Deadline for Northern Ireland to form new government has passed - with no deal reached

 
Caitlin Morrison
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Early Elections Expected At Stormont
Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire MP (Source: Getty)

The deadline for Northern Ireland to form a new government has passed - with no deal reached.

Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire MP stressed there is no appetite for another snap election, and that there is a "window of opportunity" in which to restore the power-sharing executive.

Brokenshire said he would deliver a full statement at Westminster tomorrow laying out a more detailed response, but said there remain "a few short weeks in order to resolve matters".

The civil service will take control of Northern Ireland's budgets on Wednesday.

The deadline for the region's politicians to form a power-sharing executive was 4pm, but the major parties failed to reach an agreement on time. Under Good Friday Agreement rules, Northern Ireland's executive must be run jointly by unionists and nationalists.

After politicians failed to reach an agreement there were three options available to Brokenshire: another election, a return to direct rule from Westminster, or exra time for negotiations.

The last administration collapsed in January when then-deputy first minister Martin McGuinness stood down over a disagreement between Sinn Fein and the DUP concerning a scandal caused by a botched renewable energy incentive scheme.

In the snap elections called in the wake of McGuinness' resignation, the DUP's lead against Sinn Fein was cut dramatically, from 10 seats to one.

Just over 1,000 votes split the main parties in the closest ever assembly election, with voter turnout at its highest in two decades, and the DUP won 28 of 90 seats while Sinn Fein secured 27. The parties then had three weeks in which to strike a power-sharing deal, but talks between Sinn Fein and the DUP collapsed yesterday.

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