SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood is urging Secretary of State James Brokenshire not to introduce direct rule.
The Foyle MLA, speaking ahead of the Northern Ireland Secretary’s statement to the House of Commons later today, said: “It is utterly exasperating that after months of talks, the DUP and Sinn Fein continue to lock our politics into a complete stalemate. Kicking the can further down the road, will rightly be met with public anger and disappointment.
“As the Secretary of State prepares to make his statement today, I urge him to ensure that direct rule is not the price that the people of Northern Ireland will have to pay for the political failure of the big two.”
He continued: “The immediate priority to secure and safeguard the future of our public services and the jobs of public sector workers must be agreed. It is incumbent on all of us, as political leaders, to restore confidence in our politics and stability without delay.
“I would also urge the Irish government to fully exert its responsibility and role to ensure that the North is not placed at the mercy of a Tory/DUP coalition. In the continuing absence of a local Assembly, the Irish government must be centrally involved in order to retain the hard won political balance which underpins Northern politics.”