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Northern Ireland powersharing deal deadline extended

The DUP and Sinn Fein have been unable to reach agreement since government collapsed.

James Brokenshire gave Northern Ireland more time to agree a powersharing deal
James Brokenshire gave Northern Ireland more time to agree a powersharing deal PA

The secretary of state for Northern Ireland has extended the deadline for the region's two main parties to reach a deal to restore powersharing.

James Brokenshire had given them until the end of Monday to reach an agreement, but shortly before 9pm on Monday the DUP and Sinn Fein left Stormont without one.

The parties were told they must produce a written agreement or Brokenshire would be forced to legislate for a budget for the region at Westminster.

However, on Monday night he said the parties have made progress and he was therefore going to give them more time.

"The parties will recommence talks in the morning and I will reassess the position tomorrow night," he said in a statement.

Northern Ireland's powersharing government collapsed in January.

Despite endless rounds of discussions, a deal to restore devolution has proved elusive with the introduction of an Irish language act seen as the main issue.

Brokenshire and Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney were in Belfast on Monday to try and help find a breakthrough to the political deadlock.

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald also joined their party's negotiating team at Stormont.

Throughout the day the DUP, Sinn Fein and the Irish and UK Governments stayed tight-lipped about any progress in the negotiations.

Before talks began on Monday morning the DUP called on Brokenshire to set a budget to ensure a "measure of good government" in the region.

The party said it would not accept "a bad agreement cobbled together to suddenly suit the timetables of others".

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy said while a deal can still be done it "needs to be a deal for all in our society and not just for the political leaderships of unionism".

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