A pre-Christmas Assembly election could be on the cards if no agreement is reached

There appeared to be no meeting of minds among representatives of Northern Ireland's political parties as they debated the issues around the restoration of power-sharing.

Sinn Féin MP John Finucane, the DUP 's Emma Little-Pengelly and the Alliance's Nuala McAllister appeared on Tuesday evening's View From Stormont.

Ms McAllister criticised the DUP for its refusal to re-enter an Executive, amid its ongoing protest over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

"You can have an Executive helping people and additional resource coming from the Treasury, the DUP know fine rightly that we can do both," she said.

Emma Little-Pengelly said: "And the easiest way to get that done is to get the Protocol issues resolved and the UK Government knows that."

Ms McAllister replied: "The DUP are writing themselves into irrelevance."

Ms Little-Pengelly said: "We need to get the Protocol issues resolved otherwise everything's going to go up - the cost of food, the cost of living, we are very conscious of that.

"It's not an irrelevance, people have spoken to their representatives, they're saying they want the Protocol changed, it's a big issue."

John Finucane said the "inaction of the DUP" is "simply not good enough".

He went on: "To say to people that you need to continue to make the choice about whether you heat your home or put food on the table, as we enter into a situation that is much worse, is not good enough.

"I don't think I've met anybody who voted for that when they cast their vote in May."

It comes as the new Secretary of State, Chris Heaton-Harris spoke about his intention to call a pre-Christmas Assembly election, if an agreement cannot be reached.

UTV's Political Editor Tracey Magee said such an agreement does not appear to be any closer, following Tuesday's "very sparky" debate.

She said: "I think what's pretty clear, after what was a very sparky debate, is that there's absolutely no meeting of minds among the political parties.

"You wouldn't be betting on the Executive being back in place by 28 October based on that debate."

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