The BBC reports, though the Electoral Office does not yet, that the by-election to fill Iris Robinson's seat on Castlereagh Borough Council will take place on May 6.
Obviously the Electoral Office knows something that the rest of the world has not yet been told, because May 6 is a Thursday, and council by-elections are almost invariably on a Wednesday. But May 6 also happens to be the date on which most people expect the Westminster election to be held.
So it seems that the Electoral Office plans to kill two birds with one stone on that day. Poor Jim Allister, who was so keen to have the by-election as soon as possible in order to test the waters, will now have to hope that Gordon Brown delays his Westminster election until one of the four possible dates after May 6.