Theresa May 'looking forward' to working with Michelle O’Neill

The British Prime Minister spoke to the new leader of Sinn Féin in the North yesterday afternoon

Theresa May 'looking forward' to working with Michelle O’Neill

Michelle O'Neill, the new Sinn Fein leader at Stormont. Picture by Liam McBurney PA Wire/PA Images

The new leader of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland has spoken with the British Prime Minister by phone.

Downing Street says Michelle O'Neill and Theresa May discussed the upcoming elections during their call yesterday afternoon.

Mrs May is said to have congratulated Mrs O'Neill on her recent appointment, which followed the resignation of Martin McGuinness.

In a statement, Downing Street said: "The Prime Minister said she looked forward to working with her and that she hoped that following the elections all parties would be able to come together to find a way forward for Northern Ireland.

"She added that the UK Government remained committed to building on the progress made in Northern Ireland to ensure a strong, stable devolved government that works for everyone."

Stormont elections will be held on March 2nd following the collapse of the power-sharing executive as a result of Mr McGuinness' resignation as deputy first minister.

He resigned as Arlene Foster continued to insist that she would not step aside as first minister during an investigation into a botched renewable energy scheme.

A lack of cost controls with the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI) - introduced when Mrs Foster was enterprise minister - meant some businesses were receiving more in subsidies than they were paying for renewable fuel.

The scheme was drastically oversubscribed, with some claims that the so-called 'cash for ash' scheme could cost taxpayers more than stg£400m (€539m).

The upcoming elections come less than a year after the last Assembly election in May 2016.