Challenge denied

The House of Lords has rejected Peter Robinson’s challenge to the legal status of the First and Deputy First Ministers. The appeal claimed that John Reid should have called fresh assembly elections last November because a time limit of six weeks had expired before Trimble and Durkan were re-appointed. Lord Bingham in defence of the decision: “I can see no reason why, in introducing that time limit, it should have been intended to constrain the assembly’s power to elect otherwise than by subjecting it to the secretary of state’s power and duty to intervene.”