The British Northern Secretary, Peter Hain, has said there is no question of further legislation to amend the deadline of 24 November for the restoration of devolved government.

He was responding to a request from DUP leader Ian Paisley for a two-week extension.

Mr Hain has asked Assembly speaker Eileen Bell to talk to the parties urgently to resolve the issue of how to chair the Preparation for Government Committee.

The first meeting of the Committee ended in failure today when the parties could not agree on a chairperson.

The Committee will reconvene tomorrow.

Mr Hain said the fact that the parties have not even being able to agree on who will chair the Committee must cause those who elected them to question their commitment to getting back to work.

Sinn Féin, the Ulster Unionists, the DUP and the SDLP have three representatives each on the Preparation for Government committee, while the Alliance Party has two seats.

Sinn Féin is represented by the party's chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness, along with MLAs Conor Murphy and Michelle Gildernew.

The DUP is represented by the party chairman, Maurice Morrow, Rev William McCrea MP and the son of the party leader, Ian Paisley jnr.

The scope, remit, and terms of reference of the committee remains ill defined and subject to the interpretations of the individual parties.

Nationalists insist it must work towards the restoration of devolution, while the DUP insists it must not be a negotiating forum.