Today, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris announced legislation that would push back the legal deadline for Northern Ireland Assembly elections to be called to 18th January 2024, after 12 months of political deadlock over the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP).
Northern Ireland has been without a power-sharing Executive since the DUP refused to appoint a deputy First Minister in February last year. The DUP have cited the terms of the NIP, which was negotiated by Boris Johnson in 2019, as the reason they refuse to enter government.
Despite the law requiring a new Assembly election to be held if an executive is not agreed, the deadline was previously pushed to 20th January 2023 last autumn. This latest extension to 2024 could mean Northern Ireland is without a devolved government for over two years.
Best for Britain Chief Executive Naomi Smith said:
“The Tory Government’s rotten Brexit deal has saddled Northern Ireland, which voted to remain in the EU, with political gridlock as the cost of living skyrockets.
“Two years without a functioning executive in Northern Ireland is unacceptable. The Government must work overtime to show flexibility with Stormont and the EU to resolve the issues with the Protocol and restore the devolved government in Northern Ireland.”