Theresa  Villiers said there was still  time to try to break  political deadlock in Stormont while indicating that ultimately she may take over control of welfare.   File photograph: Hannah McKay/EPA

Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers has refused to rule out the British government taking over responsibility for welfare from the Northern Executive (...)

 Minister for Finance Arlene Foster  warned that rejection of the welfare proposals would create an unsustainable £604 million (€854 million) deficit in the Stormont budget. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

The Northern Assembly last night blocked the final passage of the welfare Bill, triggering a potential crisis that could bring down the Stormont in(...)

  Minister for Finance Arlene Foster,  the DUP’s Nigel Dodds and Sammy Wilson: Sinn Feín is leading the charge against the welfare change with the SDLP.  Photograph: Kelvin Boyes

There was considerable public and indeed political sympathy with the comment of Alliance Assembly member Stewart Dickson yesterday when he referred(...)

Peter Robinson underwent a procedure for a heart condition on Monday. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

The DUP pressed ahead with the final stage of the welfare reform bill today despite concerns that it will precipitate a crisis that would jeopardise t(...)

The Prince of Wales meets Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. Photograph: Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror/PA wire

Prince Charles maintained the theme of healing and reconciliation when he visited Belfast yesterday, engaging in a public handshake with Martin McGui(...)

 Theresa Villiers, who met senior representatives from the DUP, Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Ulster Unionist Party and Alliance at Stormont today. Photograph: Hannah McKay

Talks between the Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers and the North’s five main parties concluded today without agreement on how to break the deadlo(...)

 Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan. Mr Flanagan has said that  the Government is not in a position to outline its precise approach to the  issues in the UK’s debate on its future in the EU until its government presents a formal plan. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The Government is not in a position to outline its precise approach to the three “pivotal” issues in the UK’s debate on its future in the EU until its(...)

Charlie Flanagan: will raise issue with Theresa Villiers

The fundamental role of human rights in guaranteeing peace in Northern Ireland must be fully respected, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has warned. T(...)

The SDLP said they have deep concerns that the DUP is attempting to influence the Tory British bill of rights to create a “right to parade” in exchange for support for their slim Commons majority. Photograph: The Irish Times

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has intervened in the debate over a British pledge to scrap its Human Rights Act by stressing that Dubli(...)

Theresa Villiers (top, with Lady Tina Stowell,  leader of  House of Lords)  the Northern Ireland secretary  at 10 Downing Street: David Cameron previously pledged to scrap the UK’s Human Rights Act and his majority makes it easier for him to do so. Photograph:  Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

The Government has serious concerns that London could breach the terms of the Belfast Agreement if prime minister David Cameron carries through on a p(...)