Northern Ireland will face fresh elections after a midnight deadline to install a power-sharing executive at Stormont passed without a deal, a UK cabinet minister has confirmed.
“Different communities in Northern Ireland were not able to come to an agreement to form an executive, so elections will be happening,” Thérèse Coffey, the environment secretary, told BBC Breakfast. She said the development was “regrettable”.
The Democratic Unionist party has been blocking the Stormont institutions since the last elections in May to press its demands for sweeping changes to post-Brexit trading arrangements for the region.
The party refused to re-enter the executive, scuppering a last-ditch attempt on Thursday to get it up and running.
An election is expected to be held on December 15. Chris Heaton-Harris, secretary of state for Northern Ireland, is expected to outline the next steps later on Friday.