The DUP leader, Rev Ian Paisley, met British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London this evening.

Following the talks, Mr Paisley told reporters that 'a great deal of ground' was covered at the meeting and said talks would continue over the weekend.

The one-hour meeting took place as the DUP continues its internal debate about whether or not to join a power-sharing administration at Stormont on Monday.

US President George W Bush contacted both Mr Paisley and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams personally last night, to ask them to take the final steps towards devolution.

There are differing views within Mr Paisley's party about going into government with Sinn Féin.

The crunch may come tomorrow, when the 120 members of the party's executive meet.

So far, Mr Paisley seems willing to lead from the front. The likes of Peter and Iris Robinson, Jeffrey Donaldson and Sammy Wilson, are likely to back him.

Increasingly, Mr Paisley's son, Ian Paisley Jnr, is prominently by his side.

However, party heavyweights, including Gregory Campbell, Nigel Dodds, Willie McCrea and MEP Jim Allister, may favour a different stance.

The views of party Chairman, Maurice Morrow, could also have a bearing if matters are put to a vote tomorrow.

Senior DUP party figures hope a formula can be found to allow all the factions save face.