British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is refusing to meet with Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill when he visits Northern Ireland later, it’s understood.
Instead, Mr Johnson is expected to attend an engagement with Stormont’s First Minister and Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster in Co Fermanagh.
It comes amid increasing tensions within Unionism — and Foster’s party — over the Northern Ireland Protocol and its new post-Brexit restrictions.
Sources say the Sinn Fein leaders had been seeking a meeting with Mr Johnson to discuss the Brexit fall-out as well as legacy issues relating to last year’s New Decade New Approach agreement.
As a result, Ms O’Neill, the region’s Deputy First Minister, was not invited to meet him and as a result, has declined to attend any of his engagements in Enniskillen and Belfast later in the day.