SoS James Brokenshire may bring budget forward unless political is deal done

Secretary of State James Brokenshire has suggested that the continued absence of a political deal is bringing the prospect of direct rule closer
Connla Young

Secretary of State James Brokenshire has suggested that the continued absence of a political deal is bringing the prospect of direct rule closer.

The Tory MP has said that his government my have to introduce a budget unless a deal can be done between Sinn Féin and the DUP to restore the executive.

There has been political deadlock since the collapse of the Stormont institutions in January.

Mr Brokenshire has now warned that his government will intervene to set a budget unless a deal is done.

“Unless we have an executive in place during the course of this month I will have to set a budget, a hugely significant step for the UK government to have to take in the daily affairs of Northern Ireland,” he said.

“That sense of the glide path, as I have described it, that we are on of steadily increasing UK government intervention, that is a reality.”

Mr Brokenshire said he is frustrated by the lack of movement.

"I feel very keenly the frustration and those stories which we see on an almost daily basis about the pressures on public services, and that is why I am clear about the responsibility we hold as the UK government and I will act in terms of setting the budget,” he told the BBC.

Meanwhile, the Irish government's foreign affairs minister Simon Covney has intervened in the Bombardier dispute.

Up to 4000 jobs at the Canadian firm's Belfast plant are in jeopardy after the US government interim ruling to impose a 219 percent trade levy, which will triple the cost of its C-Series aircraft being sold in the US.

The ruling came after a complaint from rival aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

It has now emerged Mr Covney has written to US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross to convey his concern.

It is understood the minister told Mr Ross that the threat to jobs in Belfast could have an impact on the peace process.

“The government is engaging as a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, given the risks that the investigation presents for the economy in Northern Ireland, which is a fundamental support to the peace process,” he said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has asked US President Donald Trump to use his influence to persuade Boeing to drop its complaint.

Closer to home, it has been reported that aides to Queen Elizabeth believe Mrs May misled her over her party's power saving deal with the DUP.

A new book ‘Fall Out: A Year of Political Mayhem' claims that senior courtiers were exasperated that Mrs May told the Queen she had done a deal with the DUP, which eventually took 17 days to get it finalised.

It is also claimed that the delay led to irritation as the Queen's speech was delayed for two days, meaning the opening of the British parliament disrupted plans for Royal Ascot.

She has been also been accused of breaching protocol in the way she announced her intention to form a government on the steps of Downing Street when she said “I've formed a government” instead of ‘The Queen h asked me to form a government”, the Sunday Times reported.

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