SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has called on the DUP and Sinn Fein to “come clean” and publish what progress they have made in the talks process.
Mr Eastwood challenged both parties to compromise or explain what Plan B is.
He claimed that direct rule appeared to be on the cards with the deadline for a deal fast approaching.
He said: “With just seven days left to find a deal on power-sharing, the DUP and Sinn Fein need to come clean with the public. Week after week, we have heard that they have made ‘progress’ but with no detail and no substance. They need to put their cards on the table.
“The time for negotiating behind the scenes is over. The public deserve to know why they are paying the price for political failure.
“After 10 months with no government, it appears that the only thing set to be delivered by the DUP and Sinn Fein is British direct rule. A prospect that should make all of us very worried.”
He added: “The two parties who received the big mandates now have a choice, they must show courage to compromise or if we are to arrive at the unforgivable position where no deal is reached – we need to hear from the DUP and Sinn Fein on their Plan B.
“The SDLP is clear, British direct rule must not and cannot be the Plan B. Direct rule doesn’t just bring the British government into a more powerful position – it gives Arlene Foster and the DUP a blank cheque. That’s a compromise the SDLP is not prepared to make.”