So, what’s happening? The DUP could not convince the Secretary of State to go along with their request to suspend the Executive, so they’ve moved to phase two, which is to stop the business of the Executive for that time. The precedent lies in the 154 days Sinn Fein did the same (although the level of media interest was tiny by comparison).
“If it becomes apparent to us that a satisfactory resolution in the talks is not possible then, as we indicated in our earlier statement, as a last resort Ministerial resignations will follow.
“However, we must make it clear that any election that follows such an eventuality will not be an election to return to the present Assembly arrangements, as we will not nominate a First Minister until a fundamental and more wide-ranging negotiation produces a system that can fully function.
“The present Assembly has been blocked from delivering for over two years because Sinn Fein and the SDLP would not take difficult financial decisions.
“The DUP is committed to engaging in the Talks in a positive and diligent manner and will seek to see the Stormont House Agreement implemented and the issue of paramilitaries dealt with comprehensively.”
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