Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has urged the DUP to reform power-sharing at Stormont as the election deadline approaches.
The Tory MP said politicians in Northern Ireland have options they can take to avoid an election being called.
But he reiterated that there is a legal obligation on the UK government to call an election if the Assembly does not form on Friday.
His Tory colleague, Northern Ireland Minister Steve Baker, said there would be no devolved government at Stormont until the unionists’ “legitimate interest” in ending the jurisdiction of the EU law in Northern Ireland.
It comes as Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin called on the DUP to “honour” the mandate of the people of Northern Ireland by contributing to the restoration of Stormont’s institutions.
On Saturday, Martin said it did not look like devolved government at Stormont would be restored before Friday’s deadline.
Heaton-Harris told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that if six months go by without power-sharing being restored after an election, another election must be called.
“It’s actually a legal requirement to call it one minute after midnight on October 28,” he said.
He added: “The Democratic Unionist Party has had an opportunity to come back and in fact I think it is very important that they do because there are so many internal issues in Northern Ireland that would be helped by their re-entry into the executive.
“And they have some very talented politicians themselves who can help solve these problems.
“So there is a choice that people can make to stop being an election.
“But it has to be done by elected representatives in Northern Ireland who return to this assembly.
“Without that, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland would have to call an election this week.”
There is less than a week to form a Stormont executive before the Secretary of State is required by law to call new elections to the assembly.
The DUP is refusing to appoint ministers to form a new executive until the Westminster government takes decisive action on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
It argues that the post-Brexit deals hinder trade and put a border in the Irish Sea between Britain and Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker told Sky News that devolved government at Stormont will not happen until unionists’ “legitimate interest” in ending EU law jurisdiction occurs in Northern Ireland.
Baker also said the UK government’s current policy on the Northern Ireland Protocol “must continue” regardless of who the next prime minister is.
The Conservative MP has spoken out in support of Rishi Sunak in the Conservative leadership race.
“The only policy that can be successfully carried out in Northern Ireland is the one we have,” he said.
“And everyone should understand that because if we say that Rishi (Sunak) or Penny (Mordaunt) didn’t carry out this policy, the Eurosceptics would implode the Government.”
He added that his Conservative colleagues “will not tolerate any deviation, any equivocation on this point”.
Baker said no one should be in any doubt that Sunak would “continue with current policy.”
“The EU, and I hope they listen to me, the EU should understand that there will be no change in policy,” he added.
Baker also said he had received “huge hits” when he apologized for his previous stance on Brexit in a bid to “change the negotiating dynamic and the friendship between us and Ireland”.
“It’s working,” he said. “That’s great. But I didn’t just speak humbly.
“I also spoke strongly that everyone must understand that it is in the legitimate interest of Unionists to end the jurisdiction of EU law in Northern Ireland.
“Now this is the most difficult problem we have to solve.
“But we won’t have devolved government in Northern Ireland until it’s finished.
“This means we will not be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.
“This is an important thing and everyone involved needs to understand that we can offer both friendship and humility, we can apologize where necessary.
“But in the end, we must end the jurisdiction of EU law in Northern Ireland.”