Secretary of State to set budget for NI at Westminster

The Secretary of State James Brokenshire is to legislate for a budget for Northern Ireland at Westminster on Monday.

Speaking on Sunday, Mr Brokenshire said that the budget was about creating a process so that the Northern Ireland civil service could do their work and carry on things they had been doing in recent months.

He said the budget should not be a block to continuing discussions between the parties.

He further stated that the budget "is a means of putting in place the steps required to keep Northern Ireland functioning".

Mr Brokenshire added: "The government will be returning their attention to bringing the parties together to seeing devolution restored in Northern Ireland for the benefit of everyone.

"I believe firmly that that remains possible. That's the outcome we want to see."

He added that, sadly, there were steps that had to be taken that were not what he would want to be doing.

He said the steps "should not be seen as a move to direct rule. We must remain focused on getting devolution restored and seeing locally elected politicians getting on with the job".

The Secretary of State will address the budget issue in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.