No independent mediator needed, says Brokenshire

James Brokenshire is the Northern Ireland Secretary

James Brokenshire is the Northern Ireland Secretary

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire does not believe an independent mediator is needed for the next round of talks at Stormont

The Secretary of State told BBC Radio Ulster’s Inside Politics programme: “I think at this stage, where we have a relatively defined group of issues, to bring someone new into the process not familiar with the discussions that have taken place, with those key issues and what people have said I think would be very challenging and very difficult.

“We have this short window of opportunity, through until Easter, when I have to then start to make final and firm decisions as to what legislation may need to be. Post the Easter recess, I think we need to focus on the people who have been in engaged.”

Mr Brokenshire has invited the parties to take part in the talks process at Stormont Castle on Monday.

The UK and Irish governments have said they want the talks to have an agreed agenda and regular round-table meetings. A deadline to form a powersharing executive was missed on Monday. He recently told MPs he does not believe there is an appetite for a fresh snap election.