First hints of a deadline?

It’s been an unspoken rule of thumb that the government may cede an election in May, before further talks in the autumn and some kind of return to executive government after that. Publicly the DUP are saying nothing that will tie them into a public timescale. Until the now the British have said little on the matter. But Peter Hain appeared to take away that option on Sunday:

But Mr Hain insisted: “We’ve really got to end this paralysis and get things up and running. We cannot have (the politicians) standing again for a suspended Assembly.” The Secretary of State said MLAs are doing constituency work but were not fulfilling the legislative function for which they were elected. “It isn’t a threat, it is a statement of fact,” he told the BBC Politics Show. Speaking from his constituency in Wales, Mr Hain argued it would be inconceivable if candidates in a May, 2007 election were standing for an Assembly that did not exist – as had already happened at the last election.

Via Jimmy.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty