James Brokenshire making Commons statement on Stormont

James Brokenshire

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James Brokenshire will make a full statement at Westminster on Tuesday

Secretary of State James Brokenshire is making a statement to the House of Commons on the collapse of the inter-party talks at Stormont.

Mr Brokenshire has said there is a short window of opportunity for the politicians to resolve their differences.

Issues like the Irish language and the legacy of the Troubles seem to be the main sticking points.

Mr Brokenshire has removed the prospect of a second snap election within weeks.

He told reporters on Monday there was no appetite for another contest.

However, he said he was reluctant to move swiftly towards suspending Stormont in favour of direct rule from London.

So more negotiations appear to be in the offing, although so far there’s no obvious deadline and no hint of how a compromise might be found.

In a memo to all his staff, the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service Sir Malcolm McKibbin has promised to try to maintain a business as usual approach during what he describes as “this time of uncertainty”.

Sir Malcolm confirmed the civil servants would use the limited powers open to them to keep funds flowing in order to carry out the essential work of delivering public services.

But he added that these powers were no substitute for a regular budget agreed by executive ministers.

Negotiations collapsed on Sunday, ahead of Monday’s 16:00 BST deadline.

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PA

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Monday’s sitting of the assembly to nominate ministers was suspended by the parties

The two biggest parties, the DUP and Sinn Féin, blamed each other for the breakdown in talks.

The political deadlock came after a snap election on 2 March brought an end to Stormont’s unionist majority and the DUP’s lead over Sinn Féin was cut from 10 seats to one.

Under Northern Ireland’s power-sharing agreement, the executive must be jointly run by unionists and nationalists, with the largest party putting forward a candidate for first minister.

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuiness quit as deputy first minister in January in protest against the DUP’s handling of a botched green energy scheme.

The party said it would not share power with DUP leader Arlene Foster as first minister until the conclusion of a public inquiry into the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

Mr McGuinness, who had been suffering from a rare heart condition, died last week at the age of 66.

James Brokenshire making Commons statement on Stormont}

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