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We are still without a Northern Ireland executive and assembly despite the efforts of all involved. It has got to the point where the UK Government need to seriously consider allowing the UK Parliament to hold the Northern Irish civil servants to account.

Under law, only the Northern Ireland Assembly can scrutinise the work of their civil servants. That means that we have had 898 days since anyone was held to account for the actions they have taken. With no working executive it means that the people of Northern Ireland are living in limbo without their needs being met by evolving public services.

The Secretary of State noted to the House that I was the last Direct Rule Minister for Northern Ireland and she wants to keep it that way, as do I. But we cannot live with the situation were people in one part of the United Kingdom are not being served properly by their public services indefinitely. All parties involved need to come back around the table and reconvene the Northern Irish Assembly for the good of everyone in their communities.