A planned move by the British government to allow MPs in Northern Ireland to "double job" by holding seats in the Stormont Assembly at the same time has been scrapped.

The news was revealed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons.

Asked about an amendment introducing the proposed new leglislation due to be debated in the House of Lords this afternoon, he said: "I'm advised that I think the amendment in question is indeed going to be withdrawn."

The move had been criticsed by all parties in the Stormont Assembly, apart from the DUP.

Critics had accused the British government of trying to prop up DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson.

Under the current rules, if he is elected to the Assembly in the next election this May, he will have to step down as MP for Lagan Valley and that would trigger a Westminster by-election.

While he has held the seat since 1997, in the last British general election in 2019 his majority was cut from more than 19,000 to 6,500 votes, with the centre ground Alliance Party making strong gains.

Other parties claimed the planned move was aimed at protecting the DUP from the risk of losing a Westminister seat if it fielded a lesser known candidate in the by-election.

The double jobbing rule could also have boosted the party in the Assembly elections by allowing other high profile MPs to stand in the hope of maximising the DUP vote in its battle with Sinn Féin to be the largest party at Stormont.

The volte face will be viewed as a major blow for the DUP.