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Last Updated: Monday, 8 May 2006, 20:34 GMT 21:34 UK
Lords pass assembly legislation
Lords in robes for opening of Parliament
The House of Lords has passed the legislation
Legislation to allow the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland has become law.

The Northern Ireland Act restores from next Monday the province's assembly, suspended since October 2002.

It also sets a deadline of 24 November for its members to elect a power-sharing executive.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has said the deadline is not flexible. On Monday, peers in the House of Lords approved the legislation.

It was fast-tracked through the Commons last month in just two days.

On 6 April, prime ministers Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern travelled to Northern Ireland to unveil their blueprint for restoring devolution.

They confirmed the assembly would be recalled on 15 May with parties being given six weeks to elect an executive.

If that fails, the 108 members get a further 12 weeks to try to form a multi-party devolved government. If that attempt fails, salaries will stop.

The British and Irish governments would then work on partnership arrangements to implement the Good Friday Agreement.

Devolved government at Stormont was suspended in October 2002 following allegations of a republican spy ring.

A court case arising from the allegations later collapsed.


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