Updated: 16/01/17 : 08:04:27
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Election footing in North as SF will not nominate McGuinness replacement

Sinn Féin has announced that it will not be nominating a candidate for the role of deputy first minister today, Monday, when the Stormont Assembly reconvenes.

The Northern Secretary James Brokenshire will have to call an election if Sinn Féin and the DUP fail to put forward candidates for the positions of first and deputy first minister by 5pm this evening.

In a press release issued last night, Sinn Féin Assembly Member Michelle O'Neill called for an election, saying "the people must be allowed to have their say".

She said there is no longer any basis for credible negotiations to reinstate the institutions and we now must move to an election.

The Sinn Fein MLA condemned the Irish goverment for consigning themselves to the role of onlooker and "some sort of impartial referee" - and said this was a fundamental mistake.

Earlier today, Northern Secretary James Brokenshire expressed concern that an election would be divisive and would lead to greater distance between the parties.

He will be responsible for naming an election date, after which parties will have three weeks to form a government.