Secretary of Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris A statement will be issued in the House of Commons amid pressure to extend the deadline to give more time for a post-Brexit trade deal to be struck.
formation failure Stormont After the May elections, ministers made the government legally responsible for conducting public opinion polls by January 19.
Heaton-Harris has already ruled out a December election, and asking voters to go to the polls in January presents a major logistical challenge as it involves campaigning during the festive period.
on tuesday downing street He said restoring power sharing was an “absolute priority”.
Stormont’s political vacuum was the first item on the agenda of a ministerial meeting chaired by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday.
The DUP’s boycott of devolved bodies in protest against the Brexit Northern Ireland protocol has prevented a cadre from forming in Belfast.
The region’s largest trade union party has made it clear that it will not tolerate a return to power sharing until the Protocol’s economic barriers to trade between Britain and Northern Ireland are removed.
Negotiations between London and Brussels aimed at securing protocol changes continue, with both sides discussing the prospects for an agreement.
Extending the deadline would increase the chances of negotiations yielding something substantial before Election Day.
With local elections already scheduled for 4 May in Northern Ireland, parliamentary elections are also likely to take place.
But that means Stormont is still up in limbo in April, when the 25th anniversary of the historic Good Friday Peace Accord is marked.
As such, governments may be tempted to conduct polls earlier this year in hopes that a power-sharing regime will work when the landmark commemoration takes place.
Heaton Harris plans to present to Westminster in the coming weeks a bill that would pass Stormont’s annual budget in the absence of a devolved minister.
A move to extend the election deadline could lead to budget legislation.
Existing law gave Stormont parties about six months to form their cadres following the last election in May when Sinn Fein emerged as the largest party for the first time.
The deadline to appoint a new cadre expired on October 28, when the government had a legal obligation to conduct a new poll within 12 weeks.
Heaton-Harris has backtracked on his promises to set an election date just before the deadline, and Stormont’s party has accused him of turning.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/northern-ireland-chris-heatonharris-downing-street-stormont-government-b2220962.html Decision on whether to extend Northern Ireland election deadline