ANOTHER Stormont Assembly election will not take place in December, the Northern Ireland Secretary has announced.

A DUP boycott of the devolved institutions, in protest at the Northern Ireland Protocol, has prevented an administration being formed in the wake of the results of the elections held in May.

The vote saw Sinn Fein win a historic victory which gave them the right to name a first minister, but the Unionist side has refused to come to the table.

Tory minister Chris Heaton-Harris (below) said he will outline the next steps in Parliament.

The National: Chris Heaton-Harris

He is obliged to call an election within 12 weeks of October 28, when the deadline for the Northern Ireland parties to form a fresh executive ran out.

He said he has listened to concerns about the impact and the cost of an election at this time.

“I can now confirm that no Assembly election will take place in December, or ahead of the festive season,” he said in a statement on Friday morning.

“Current legislation requires me to name a date for an election to take place within 12 weeks of October 28 and next week I will make a statement in Parliament to lay out my next steps.”

He added: “My objective, what the people of Northern Ireland deserve, is the restoration of a strong, devolved government.

“My duty is to create the right environment for the parties in Northern Ireland to work together to restore the devolved institutions and deliver on crucial issues impacting Northern Ireland’s people.

“I do not take this duty lightly, nor do I overlook the very real concerns people have around their cost of living.”

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill said that Heaton-Harris had only announced "a continuation of the Tory chaos in London that is now paralysing our politics".

Accusing the Tory minister of "more dithering and indecision", O’Neill (below) went on: “This is yet another example of the Tory party’s contempt for the people of the north.

“The British government are fuelling the political instability caused by the DUP’s failure to recognise the result of the May election when the people voted for change. 

“The British government and the DUP are leaving us in a prolonged state of political limbo with no Assembly, Executive or caretaker ministers. 

The National: Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O’Neill

“This is totally unacceptable at a time when workers, families and small businesses are struggling through the cost-of-living crisis and a cold winter and when our health service needs immediate investment. 

“People want parties working together in their best interests and making a real difference to their lives right now. The British government are denying people the leadership they voted for in a bid to let the DUP off the hook.

“The British Secretary of State should outline now exactly what the British government intends to do to restore the political institutions here and how and when they propose to give people here the £400 cost of living energy payment they have waited months for. 

“Delays and indecision is not an acceptable situation for people here who need help now.”