Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said on Thursday there would be an election in the province in the first three months of next year after Britain pushed back a deadline to call a new vote.
“I’ve given myself two periods of six weeks…that simply means the first three months of next year,” Heaton-Harris said on Sky News.
At the same time, Rishi Sunak will become the first British prime minister in 15 years to attend the British-Irish Council summit on Thursday.
He will meet with the leaders of the Scottish and Welsh devolved governments as he bids to rebuild relations.
Sunak, who took office just over two weeks ago, will meet with his Irish counterpart Micheal Martin ahead of the summit in North West England, as well as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford.
Sturgeon, who wants to hold a second Scottish independence referendum next year, had criticised Sunak’s predecessor, Liz Truss, for failing to even call her during her tumultuous seven weeks as prime minister.