The Northern Ireland Assembly will reconvene at Stormont later today for the first time in over three years. However, direct rule remains in place as it has since October 2002, meaning ministers in London continue to have authority over devolved departments.
Today’s business will consist of the signing of a register by the 108 members.They will be asked to define their party allegiance in alphabetical order as nationalist, unionist or other. The parties involved have until the 24th of November to form a power-sharing executive, a deadline set by British and Irish ministers. They are expected to get down to business proper tomorrow, by debating a range of economic matters presented by business leaders.After today’s opening ceremony, many of the politicians are expected to head to a garden party at Hillsborough Castle, the official residence of the Secretary of State, Peter Hain.