Extension to power sharing talks in NI.
THE UK government has announced negotiations to restore power sharing in Northern Ireland will be allowed to extend until Monday, despite Stormont parties missing yesterday's statutory deadline to reach agreement.
Downing Street said the passing of yesterday's 4pm deadline "does not mean the efforts to restore the executive are ending".
In the absence of agreement, the options open to Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire include setting another deadline for the talks process, calling a second snap Assembly election or reimposing some form of direct rule from London.
If a deal was to materialise at the weekend, the government could pass legislation to retrospectively change the missed deadline to enable a new executive to be formed without recourse to another election.
The Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein, thse two parties whose agreement is required to form a new administration, have accused each other of refusing to give ground on key issues.
Despite a pessimistic mood at Stormont, the Downing Street spokeswoman insisted "very good progress" had been made.