Stable devolution is our aim for NI, says Brokenshire
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire has reiterated the Government's commitment to power-sharing devolution as the best way forward for Northern Ireland.
Writing in today's Belfast Telegraph, the Secretary of State says: "I am clear that political stability is best delivered through a power-sharing devolved government at Stormont.
"That is precisely what the Government wants to achieve, and what the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland want."
He called for the forthcoming election campaign to be conducted with respect, in the knowledge that the MLAs who are elected will have to work with each other in the new Assembly.
"Of course, the election will be fought robustly in the greatest traditions of our democracy.
"However, it is vital the campaign is conducted respectfully and in ways that do not simply exacerbate tensions and division," he said.
The Secretary of State also ruled out authority over Northern Ireland being shared with the Republic of Ireland, and dismissed prospects of Direct Rule.
"I am not contemplating any outcome other than the re-establishment of strong and stable devolved government," he said.
On Monday, Mr Brokenshire was forced to call an election after the deadline for Sinn Fein to nominate a Deputy First Minister to replace Martin McGuinness passed. While he has kept a fairly low profile since he took over from Theresa Villiers as Northern Ireland Secretary last summer, Mr Brokenshire will play a key role if there are talks after the March 2 poll.