Social Democratic and Labour Party Leader Colum Eastwood MP has said an Assembly election will only cause further harm to politics in the North.
Mr Eastwood was speaking after meeting Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris in London on Thursday.
He said that while the SDLP stands ready to fight an election, it will do nothing to solve the issues facing people across the North.
Foyle MP Mr Eastwood said:
“During my meeting with the Secretary of State today I stressed to him the futility of calling an Assembly election that will waste millions of pounds without solving one single issue that is facing people in the North or changing the political situation which the DUP is using as justification to stop every other MLA from doing their job.
“The DUP need to realise the huge harm their actions have caused to the North and our communities over the last year. Their blockage of the institutions has stopped us getting real help to families that are struggling to heat their homes and put food on the table and they are now at the mercy of a Tory government that has shown repeatedly how little they value this place.
“The British government know that constructive negotiations with the EU is the only way to reach a positive agreement on the Protocol and yet they still insist that an election is the best way forward. If the Secretary of State or anyone else in the government can explain to me how an election will help families struggling due to the cost of living emergency, deal with our health service waiting lists or address the housing crisis then I’m all ears.
“I made it clear to the Secretary of State that we will never again return to direct rule from Westminster. If the institutions cannot be restored then we will need to see the Irish government’s role in governing this place increased. We can’t let Tory governments that have caused so much misery have more control over people’s lives here."