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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 June 2006, 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
Hain 'U-turn' on assembly debates
Peter Hain
Peter Hain had not planned to hold any debates at Stormont next week
NI Secretary Peter Hain has made a U-turn on his decision not to hold any debates at the assembly next week.

Mr Hain's announcement on Thursday had been met with criticism from the DUP, the UUP, the SDLP and the Alliance.

But an NIO spokesman later confirmed Mr Hain would tell the speaker assembly business could take place next Tuesday.

The DUP had threatened to boycott the new Preparation for Government Committee had Mr Hain not changed his mind about assembly business.

Sinn Fein, SDLP, UUP and Alliance have said they will join the new Preparation for Government Committee.

Its first order of business will be to decide who will chair the committee.

BBC Northern Ireland's political editor Mark Devenport said, at this stage, it seemed that no party would boycott it.

However, the DUP has insisted that the committee should not be a negotiating body.

On 15 May, Northern Ireland's politicians took their seats in the Stormont assembly for the first time since October 2002.

While there is no immediate prospect of a power-sharing executive being formed, the government hopes recalling the politicians will help to pave the way towards a deal in the autumn, by its deadline of 24 November.

Devolved government was suspended over allegations of a republican spy ring. The court case that followed collapsed.

Direct rule from London was restored in October 2002 and has been in place since.




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