For the third day in a row the all-party committee at Stormont, charged with charting the course towards the return of devolved government, has failed to elect a Chairperson.

It will now be up to the Northern Secretary, Peter Hain, to rule on what happens next.

Mr Hain said the failure to select a chairman for the Stormont all-party committee was deeply frustrating.

He said the parties must urgently resolve the issue and a failure to do so would do the people of Northern Ireland an immense disservice.

A Sinn Féin proposal for the chairperson job to be rotated between them and the DUP was rejected by Ian Paisley's party.

The DUP wanted Eileen Bell to be the Speaker of the Assembly, but Ms Bell said it would be inappropriate for her to take the post.

As the stalemate continued Sinn Féin's Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness blamed the DUP for the deadlock in selecting a Chairperson.

Mr McGuinness said the DUP had rejected every proposal and suggestion put to them.

William McCrea MP, said a chairperson could not be elected because there was a lack of trust between the parties.