Mark Durkan has said that he was hopeful he and David Trimble would be elected First and Deputy First Minister of the Stormont Assembly. The vote is to take place on Friday.

Arriving in Dublin for a meeting with Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy, the leader of the SDLP said that everyone should be trying to ensure that the Ulster Unionist Party is able to muster its full voting strength of 28 behind the vote.

He said that speculation about the two Women’s Coalition members re-designating as Unionists was "not the best way to approach the issue". Junior Minister Dermot Nesbitt, an Ulster Unionist, said that he believed all 28 members of his party would vote for David Trimble, as instructed by the party's executive.

However, Pauline Armitage of the UUP indicated today that she is to defy the executive. She has called for a review of the Good Friday Agreement, saying that Mr Trimble had made too many concessions to Republicans.