Belfast Telegraph

MPs approve extension to NI Assembly suspension

By Alain Tolhurst

MPs have approved an extension to the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly as politicians from both sides continue to be unable to restore the power-sharing Executive.

MPs heard the Statutory Instrument tabled by the Government gives "another five months of breathing space" to get the Assembly back up and running.

Talks have repeatedly stalled since the collapse of the Executive in January 2017, with decision-making effectively on hold.

Northern Ireland minister John Penrose urged MPs to back the "small and perfectly-formed" legislation, but also "back all efforts on all sides of the community to push both sides towards a resumption and successful conclusion to those talks".

Labour's shadow Northern Ireland minister Stephen Pound said his party would support it, but called on Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley to "do more" to restore the Assembly.

He said it was with "sadness we support this tonight, but we understand it's necessary".

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