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Relief as Northern Ireland election is delayed until 'after Christmas'

Relief as unwanted election in Northern Ireland is delayed until ‘after Christmas’ as parties fail to strike new power-sharing deal

  • The poll was meant to be held after the deadline expired to form new executive
  • Chris Heaton-Harris announced the poll would not take place before Christmas
  • Alliance leader Naomi Long said most people will see this as a Christmas miracle
  • The Northern Ireland Secretary is expected to make a statement in Parliament 

An election due in Northern Ireland next month has been called off.

The poll was meant to be held after the deadline expired for political parties in the province to form a fresh executive.

But Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris announced yesterday that it would not take place before Christmas, after listening to concerns about the cost as well as the community impact. 

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris announced yesterday that an election would not take place before Christmas

He said in a statement: ‘I can now confirm that no Assembly election will take place in December, or ahead of the festive season. 

Legislation requires me to name a date for an election to take place within 12 weeks of October 28 and next week I will make a statement in Parliament to lay out my next steps.’

The poll was meant to be held after the deadline expired for political parties in the province to form a fresh executive (pictured: padlocked gate outside Parliament Buildings in Stormont)

Most parties welcomed the announcement, with Alliance leader Naomi Long saying: ‘If you talk to the average person on the street, most of them will see this as something of a Christmas miracle, because nobody wanted to go into the polls before Christmas.’

The delay has also prompted fresh speculation that the UK and European Union may soon reach a deal on troubled post-Brexit trade and so pave the way for the DUP to end its boycott of the devolved government.

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