Northern Ireland secretary sets Easter deadline for Stormont negotiations

Mark Sands
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Brokenshire said last month there was "no appetite" for a fresh election (Source: Getty)

Northern Irish politicians have been given until Easter to end the crisis enveloping the country's devolved authority.

The Stormont assembly collapsed after the late Martin McGuinness resigned as deputy first minister in January, with the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein unable to reach a new power sharing deal.

And now Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire has handed both sides a new deadline of 18 April to reach a breakthrough.

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Speaking in Antrim today, he said he would make a call on the state of negotiations over the Easter weekend ahead of the MPs' return from recess.

The government's options include a new election, further negotiations, or the return of direct rule from London.

However, Brokenshire last month said that there was no appetite for fresh elections in Northern Ireland. A snap poll after McGuinness' resignation ended the unionist majority in Stormont for the first time.

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