Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 12:04 UK

Brown publishes NI police budget

Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson
Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson have held a series of meetings

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has published the budget for the devolution of policing and justice in NI.

The move comes after he met the first and deputy first minister in Downing Street on Tuesday.

The prime minister told the Commons that he has put together a financial settlement for the devolution of policing and justice.

He said he had written to the party leaders outlining the budget which is believed to be in the region of £1bn.

First Minister Peter Robinson said he would discuss the financial deal with his political colleagues and other interested parties once the budget was made public.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness described the talks as "a good night's work". He said devolution was achievable by Christmas.

Mr McGuinness said he believed the proposed budget deal represents an "incredible achievement against the backdrop of recession."

However, the DUP have again emphasised that they see community confidence as a key element of any devolution deal.

Mr Robinson said: "We see getting public confidence as being an essential ingredient - it was a commitment in our manifesto, and part of the confidence-building is having confidence in the financial arrangements.

"I think any fool can produce a wants list but the proposals that are presented by the prime minister have to be viewed by all of us."

'Tory proof'

Martin McGuinness warned that his party would not accept any unnecessary delays.

"I think it would be a mistake for anyone to try and inject further issues into the process which would mean that we would have further hurdles to cross," he said.

BBC Northern Ireland political reporter Stephen Walker said the DUP also wanted to make sure any budget was "Tory-proof."

"Once Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness are happy that it can be signed off then Mr Robinson will go and speak to David Cameron and ask him if he will stand over the figures if he becomes prime minister," our reporter said.

It is understood that Mr McGuinness will also consult with Mr Cameron.

Mr Robinson will also seek meetings with the Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey, the Chief Constable Matt Baggott and senior figures in the judicial system.

Last week, Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness briefed other parties on outline proposals for the transfer, however they were unhappy at the lack of detail the two men provided.

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