I’m grateful to Slugger regular Dr Snuggles for bringing this to our attention: On the Politics Show on Sunday, Peter Hain said that he wanted to “find a way forward where we can get the assembly up and running and thereafter power-sharing established and restored.” Later in the same programme, he talked of getting the Assembly up and running and then, “in due course [my emphasis], a power-sharing Executive as well”. Then, yesterday, he said: “I’m confident we can make the necessary progress to get the assembly running and the process that will lead [my emphasis] to a power-sharing executive”. An impression echoed in this morning’s Newsletter report:
It is believed there is an acceptance in London and Dublin that restoring the Stormont Executive is not possible at this stage, given the unionist position. The governments are instead looking towards the best deal, thereafter. This would inevitably involve rolling devolution. It would begin with an Assembly of some type and look to a future phasing-in of a fully-devolved government – adding bits to the jigsaw as time and trust progress. April is the deadline because it is the latest date allowed for amendments to made to the Northern Ireland Bill which will be going through Parliament.