Despite the clear indication of fudge ahead the Secretary of State for Wales etc, Peter Hain, is still maintaining that Friday 24th November is a rock-solid deadline.. and he is not being flexible about it.. honest..From the NIO statement
The Secretary of State said that Northern Ireland remained on track for devolution but warned that if the process fails, he will move to dissolve the Assembly.
He said: “The future of devolution for Northern Ireland rests on the twin pillars of the St Andrews Agreement; if either one collapses the whole edifice collapses.
“We must know that the parties want to move forward to March 26 on that basis.
“That is why November 24 is important. When that deadline was set, I said that we needed to know by then that a deal was on and we were on track for a lasting political settlement.
“That is still the case. Without knowing that, there cannot be a Transitional Assembly, an election nor devolution.[added emphasis]
“The sequence set out at St Andrews will not be set aside and no-one should think that this is some kind of a virility test to see who blinks first.
“If the Assembly has to be dissolved because we cannot move forward then it will be but I sincerely hope it will not come to that.”
So, by 24th November we will get a commitment on supporting the rule of law from Sinn Féin, as set out in the St Andrews Agreement legislation [and the same commitment from the Secretary of State? – Ed], as well as the corresponding commitment on power-sharing from the DUP? Or are we still waiting for lessons to be learned?