Robinson ups the ante

Breaking news... The Belfast Telegraph is selling hard the story of deepening crisis in the Executive, although as I type, nobody else seems to have picked up this latest twist. Peter Robinson’s charge is constitutionally a serious one, that the Regional Development minister SF’s Conor Murphy breached the code of office by failing to bring a ” massive” regional strategy to 2025 before an Executive meeting.

“Mr Robinson said he wanted an immediate Executive meeting to deal with the issue before it becomes a matter for the courts.”

In political terms, it’s clearly a straight challenge to Sinn Fein to come in or get out. Quite a gambit. Yet how does it square with yesterday’s story of a meeting with SF next week to try to settle the whole Executive crisis? And why is Robinson flanked by party colleagues meeting the Independent Monitoring Commission today, if not to obtain their views on IRA compliance? Forcing a crisis or calling Sinn Fein’s bluff? We shall see how the news is analysed in the coming hours and days.

What’s the DUP’s next move if Sinn Fein fails to respond?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London