The comments from the Secretary of State regarding the current state of the talks process in Northern Ireland is deeply troubling. There are very real consequences for the people of Northern Ireland with the continuing stalemate – budgetary decisions are waiting to be taken, NHS targets are being missed and waiting lists are getting longer, and there is uncertainty for economic investment. Northern Ireland is also lacking a voice in the crucial Brexit negotiations.
It is clear that the Government and political parties now need to consider fresh approaches to finding an agreement. The Government must now move from a closed DUP-Sinn Féin format towards a more multilateral process, bring in an external mediator, and make it clear that other approaches to the formation of the power-sharing government will be considered.