Report Government to delay Northern Ireland election as Heaton-Harris prepares to address Commons

Chris Heaton Harris. Pic Presseye
Northern Ireland Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris is due to address the House of Commons on Wednesday. Credit: Presseye

The UK Government is planning legislation to extend the deadline for a new Assembly election, it has been reported.

Under current legislation, the secretary of state must call an election within 12 weeks of 28 October.

Chris Heaton-Harris did pledge to call an election at one minute past midnight on 28 October. However, he back tracked saying that while there would still be an election, he has only ruled a out a poll happening this year. He is expected to make another announcement on Wednesday.

Bloomberg and Politics Home both reported that Mr Heaton-Harris will announce on Wednesday that current legislation will be changed to allow for more time before another poll has to be called.

Both report the government is concerned about the Assembly being collapsed for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Both outlets also cite sources who say that a potential visit by US President Joe Biden to mark the anniversary could be negatively impacted by power sharing vacuum.

President Biden discussed preserving the Good Friday Agreement with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in their first phone call following Mr Sunak's appointment as PM.

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