Many moons ago when I started this game I vowed not to blog out of office hours, but here I am at 11.30 pm tapping away at my keyboard. My excuse? I am in my office in the Stormont basement and upstairs in Room 315 the DUP assembly team is meeting. They started arriving around 10 pm tonight for what it's fair to assume is an extraordinary late night meeting to consider the deal. Hard to imagine they will simply repeat the exercise they went through last Monday.
During the day we were getting increasing signals that Peter Robinson had had success......
and that's where I had to break this blog off because at that moment I got a shout that the meeting was over - we rushed out into the hall to see ian Paisleys Snr and Jnr disappearing down a corridor. A quick sprint took us to the car park, where we intercepted some politicians driving away without making any comment - all that is apart from Willie McCrea who told em through his car window that "there'll always be an Ulster".
Then back inside for a midnight news conference with Peter Robinson who told us that all 35 MLAs (Willie Hay doesn't attend these meetings) had backed the deal. I'd like to give you more details but I have to go now because Parliament Buildings is about to be locked up and I can't afford to miss a Joint Prime Ministerial News Conference which it's now expected will be called for Hillsborough in the morning.