Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has said he does not intend to appoint ministers to take political control at Stormont as he moved budget measures with the "utmost reluctance".
Mr Brokenshire said parties must resolve the issues to end the power-sharing deadlock, as a budget for Northern Ireland was put to the House of Commons in lieu of an agreement between the DUP and Sinn Féin to return to government.
He told MPs he was taking the measure with "the utmost reluctance and only because there is no other choice available", emphasising that his "strong preference" would be for a restored executive to bring forward its own budget.
The Stormont Executive has not sat since power-sharing between the DUP and Sinn Féin collapsed in January, due to ongoing disagreements around language and cultural issues, including over whether to have an Irish Language Act.
Tonight, Mr Brokenshire was urged to appoint ministers to take control in Northern Ireland.
DUP MP Ian Paisley said there would now be "no political accountability in Northern Ireland either to the non-functioning executive and importantly tonight to him and his ministerial team in Northern Ireland either".
"That is not sustainable for any period of time whatsoever. There must be political accountability and he must move there urgently to appoint ministers to take political control."
Mr Brokenshire replied: "That it is not a step that I do intend to take while there is an opportunity for an executive to be formed.
"There have been discussions that have been ongoing, even last week between his party and Sinn Féin to find resolution around the outstanding issues between the respective parties that can form that executive.
"I think it is right that we continue to pursue that, but he is right in saying that this cannot just simply continue, that this is not sustainable into the long term.
"I think that it is absolutely in the best interests of Northern Ireland and more generally that we continue to do all that we can to see that an executive is restored and that the parties are able to resolve the outstanding issues and get devolved government back up and running at the earliest opportunity."
Mr Brokenshire reiterated the Northern Ireland Budget Bill was needed as there were "manifest risks" the civil service would "simply begin to run out of resources" by the end of the month.
He said: "That would mean no funding available for public services, with all of the negative impacts that would accompany such a cliff edge."
Mr Brokenshire said the bill will keep public services running in Northern Ireland, but insisted it is not a British government budget.
He explained: "It does not reflect the priorities or spending priorities of me or any other minister."
Mr Brokenshire said it was the budget a returning executive would have been presented with had it been formed.
O'Neill calls for intervention
Sinn Féin leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill has called on the Irish and British governments to intervene in the power-sharing deadlock at Stormont to act on outstanding issues.
Ms O'Neill reiterated her party's stance that there had been previous agreements for a stand-alone Irish Language Act.
She said: "It is now the responsibility of the two governments to look to the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement and for a British-Irish intergovernmental conference to meet as soon as possible.
"We have sought urgent meetings with both the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister.
"The way forward now is for the two governments to fulfil their responsibility as co-guarantors of the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements, to honour outstanding commitments, and to deliver rights enjoyed by everyone else on these islands to people here."
Sinn Féin has argued that provisions for a stand-alone Irish Language Act were agreed in the St Andrews Agreement in 2006.
The DUP remains opposed to a stand-alone bill and has instead suggested a cross-community bill with provisions for both Irish and Ulster Scots.
British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to the DUP and Sinn Féin leadership in separate phone calls on Friday.
Mrs May insisted that a budget being imposed from Westminster is not tantamount to direct rule, and urged the parties to bridge the gaps that remain between them.