The Taoiseach has said that the UK government was "correct" to defer a fresh Stormont election.

Legislation has been introduced at Westminister to formally defer a fresh Stormont Assembly election in Northern Ireland by up to three months.

The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Bill also sees MLA salaries slashed by about a third while the Assembly is unable to conduct business, and take "limited but necessary steps" to maintain public services.

Micheál Martin said an election in the midst of talks between the UK and the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol would be "polarising" and lead to "deeper entrenchment".

"I think it's correct to pause to give the talks process between the United Kingdom government and the European Union every opportunity to come to a resolution," Mr Martin said.

"There has been an articulated desire by the United Kingdom government and the European Union for a negotiated resolution of issues around the protocol. It seems to make sense that we would let that process take its course and hopefully lead to a resolution."

Mr Martin said he was "not understating" the challenges that exist in trying to reach an agreement over the protocol.

He said he believes it is in the "best interests of all concerned" to hold off calling a Stormont election.

"An election right now in the middle of all of this could be polarising, could lead to deeper entrenchment in positions and make compromise and a resolution more difficult," the Taoiseach said.

"So, I think the Secretary of State has taken the correct decision and we support them, and we welcome his decision."

The draft legislation was introduced to the House of Commons, however Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris was not present in the chamber.

The second reading of the bill will be held tomorrow.

It comes as the Stormont parties failed to establish a new Executive by 28 October, some 24 weeks after the last Assembly election in May.

That placed a legal responsibility on the UK government to hold a fresh Assembly election by 19 January.

However, Mr Heaton-Harris ruled out a December election and has instead brought forward legislation to extend the deadline.

The new legislation would extend the period for executive formation by six weeks to 8 December, with the possibility of a further six-week extension to 19 January.

Meanwhile, the bill also clarifies the decision-making powers for civil servants leading departments in the absence of ministers.

It also enables a small number of vital public service appointments to be made and enable the regional rate for 2023/24 to be set should an executive not be in place to do so.

A DUP boycott of the devolved institutions, in protest at Brexit's Northern Ireland Protocol, has prevented an executive being formed in Belfast.

The party has made clear it will not countenance a return to power-sharing until the protocol's economic barriers on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland are scrapped.

Talks are ongoing between the UK and EU over the protocol while a bill to over-ride elements of the protocol is currently going through the parliamentary process.

Speaking ahead of the introduction of the bill, Mr Heaton-Harris urged the Stormont parties to "come together".

"I urge the Northern Ireland parties to use this extended time to come together and deliver for the interests of all people in Northern Ireland, particularly in this time of rising costs," he said.

"At present, MLAs are not in a position to fulfil the full range of their duties, so it is right that we take steps to reduce their salaries, especially in the current economic climate and in view of the £660 million black hole in the public finances created by poor decisions made by outgoing ministers.

"Furthermore, Northern Ireland's people are being denied full democratic representation.

"The government's priority is to see politicians elected to return to fulfil their roles in a strong, devolved and locally accountable Government, as laid out by the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement."