It is being reported that the Executive deadlock in Northern Ireland (which has lasted since June) might be about to come to an end. The DUP and Sinn Fein are apparently both making preparations in Stormont.
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson has been vocal recently condemning the stalemate, describing it as an "absolute disaster" economically. He has also said:
"Gone, it seems, is any hope of major US investment bringing both new jobs and investment to the country. Instead of holding the country to ransom, the DUP and particularly Sinn Fein need to get back around the table and sort these problems out the mature way."
The parties are in disagreement over the devolution of responsibility for policing. Sinn Fein believed that they had a deal from the St Andrews talks in Scotland in 2006 that a local minister would take the policing and justice job. The DUP denied this. Last August a new deal seemed imminent, as both parties agreed they wouldn’t take the job, and that a minister should be elected with cross community backing. But no settlement has been reached.
Following weekend talks, there apparently is a chance that this might be about to change.