Secretary of State extends the deadline for the formation of an Executive until 8 February

The deadline to reform the Executive has been moved to February 8th, which means there won't be a Stormont election until at least then, if the Executive is still not up-and-running.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, has today announced that he will extend the period that Stormont has to be restored until 8 February 2024.

The previous deadline to form an Executive passed last week, so the NI Secretary was due to call an Assembly election. This extension means that an election will not be called until at least February.

Chris Heaton-Harris posted on X earlier today that he is “committed to restoring devolution and significant progress has been made towards that objective” and that this extension “will be sufficient”.

The Democratic Unionist Party, who have been in talks with the UK government, released a statement following the Secretary of State’s announcement.

“The introduction of this Bill by the Secretary of State is recognition that, whilst significant progress has been made, to date an agreement has not been reached.

We will continue to engage with the Government as we seek to successfully finalise all the remaining outstanding issues between us. We are working to that end. The Government knows our view that it is only when we have resolved the remaining outstanding issues that we will be able to bring about the necessary conditions for the return of devolved Government.”

– DUP spokesperson

SDLP table amendment to Executive formation legislation

The Social Democratic and Labour Party have tabled an amendment to the emergency legislation.

Their amendment attempts to reform the process for electing an Assembly speaker to a two-thirds majority, which would remove the one party veto on the reformation of the Assembly.

It will also place an obligation on Chris Heaton-Harris to deliver a pay award for public sector workers in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein vice-president, Michelle O’Neill, released a statement on X saying that “the DUP leader should do the right thing and restore the democratic institutions”.

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