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Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Stormont and, more importantly, the people of Northern Ireland, have now been without a functioning Executive for over 1,000 days. The Government’s report on Executive formation stated:
There are no formal talks between the parties at the moment. I fully accept that the Government cannot bind the hands of the parties involved, but if there are no current talks, what exactly the did the Government mean by intensifying their efforts, and when will fresh party talks take place?
The Government’s reckless Brexit policy and their agreement with the DUP have severely undermined the delicate balance of relationships that built and sustained the Good Friday agreement. Given the breakdown in the Government’s relationship with the DUP, does the Secretary of State envisage that this will have an impact on efforts to restore the Assembly and the Executive?
The Government have confirmed that the imposition of direct rule is being considered. This is deeply disappointing. It is clear that devolved decisions are best made by the elected politicians of Northern Ireland. I urge them to get back round the table and to get back to work.