The DUP MP for Upper Bann was responding to comments made earlier on Friday by both Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald and vice-president Michelle O’Neill.
Ms McDonald said the DUP should “stop playing games,” while Ms O’Neill said: “The democratic outcome of last May’s Assembly election must be respected. Power-sharing must be restored.”
Speaking in Dublin, Ms McDonald added: “It’s time for the DUP to accept the result of the elections, to end its boycott of the institutions and to get back around the executive table.
“So, my message to the DUP is clear – the game-playing now needs to stop and common sense must prevail – our people north and south want a new era in which government makes politics work for everyone, to seize with ambition the immense opportunities for Ireland over the next decade”.
Ms Lockhart responded, saying: “Of course we accept the outcome of the election. Mary Lou knows she is talking nonsense. The DUP made clear there was no basis for government in February 2022 months before the Assembly election and when we were the largest party.”
Ms Lockhart added: “Unlike Sinn Fein we have always respected the ballot box and the rule of law. Stormont can only function with unionists and nationalists – it’s about power-sharing. We want to restore the NI Assembly on a basis that unionists as well as nationalists can support.
“We need stable and sustainable devolved government. Northern Ireland is a divided society. We must get the foundations right. Quick fixes without solid foundations will do a disservice to those trying to make the NI Assembly work. Progress is only made in Northern Ireland based on consensus – unionists and nationalists agreeing a way forward."
Also speaking in Dublin on Friday, Michelle O’Neill said: “This week over 100 businesses from across the world were in Belfast for an economic conference, where I and others made a strong pitch for them to invest here.
“The deal between Britain and the EU is done, those negotiations are over.
“It gives us a huge competitive advantage as a gateway to Europe for the sale of goods to two of the world’s largest markets unimpeded.”