Guinness will not recognise lengthy Stormont hiatus as world record

North will soon become jurisdiction without government for longest period in peacetime

A file image of Stormont Castle, home to the Northern Ireland assembly. The North is to become the jurisdiction without a government for the longest period in peacetime. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images.

A file image of Stormont Castle, home to the Northern Ireland assembly. The North is to become the jurisdiction without a government for the longest period in peacetime. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images.

 

Northern Ireland is to become the jurisdiction without a government for the longest period in peacetime, but the development will not be officially recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Belgium currently holds the world record, set in 2010-11, of 541 days without a government but later this month Northern Ireland will break the record as a result of powersharing at Stormont being on hiatus since January of last year.

A spokeswoman for Guinness World Records said Northern Ireland was “not eligible” for the record as it is still able to have laws passed at Westminster.

“While the Northern Ireland Assembly has the power to make legislation relevant to the area, it is still limited with regard to certain powers and the Westminster parliament is technically still able to pass laws for any part of the UK, meaning that Northern Ireland still has a form of government in place,” the spokeswoman said.

“To compare this to the current holder of this record, after Belgium had its 2011 election there was no clear majority and the discussions to form a coalition took 541 days. So technically Belgium had no established government for that period of time. Northern Ireland, still being part of the UK, has Westminster governing them,” she added.

Powersharing collapsed due to a bitter row between the DUP and Sinn Féin over a botched green energy scheme which became known as the ‘cash for ash’ scandal.

The ongoing impasse has seen the parties argue over issues such as legislation on the Irish language, LGBT rights and how to handle to legacy of the Troubles.