Friday, January 08, 2010

Peter Robinson's Position Looks Untenable

Yesterday lunchtime I spent ten minutes on Radio 2 discussing the Iris Robinson affair with Jeremy Vine and Bea Campbell. It looks like my compassionate side got the better of me, and that her statement yesterday didn't quite tell the full story.

Last night I watched the BBC Northern Ireland Spotlight Documentary about Iris Robinson. For those who didn't see it, it outlined the details of her affair with a 19 year old, who she helped set up in business with two £25,000 cheques from property developers. She failed to declare any interest regarding the money.

Central to the programme were interviews with 19 year old Kirk McCambley and Iris Robinson's former parliamentary assistant Selwyn Black.

It was gripping, and devastating stuff. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Mrs Robinson now faces criminal charges, and on the evidence presented in the programme it seems not unreasonable to assume that she misused public office.

The big question is this: how does it affect the position of her husband, First Minister Peter Robinson. He knew nothing of her arrangements, or her affair, until 1 March last year, it seems. When he found out he ordered the money to be repaid but failed to disclose what he knew to the parliamentary authorities either in Northern Ireland or in London.

If I were being prurient I could repeat the programme's assertion that for a woman who railed against the evils of paedophilia, it was odd for her to have a sexual relationship with someone 40 years her junior. But that's the least of her troubles. At least that isn't illegal - well, not in the law you and I understand. In Iris Robinson's Leviticus dominated worldview, adultery is just as much an abomination as homosexuality - and is from a moral standpoint 'illegal'.

People will now naturally ask how true her confession of mental illness really was. She clearly attempted to kill herself, although we're not told how near she came or how she tried to do it. That in itself is not proof of mental illness. It could just be a sign of a woman with nowhere else to go once she had been found out.

My instant reaction to this programme is that Peter Robinson's position as First Minister is now untenable. It may be that he thinks he can clear his name. That is best done from the backbenches. I speculated yesterday that he was going to resign. I'd say that this morning, that looks a racing certainty.

The BBC has a full report on the programme HERE. Iimagine it will appear on iPlayer shortly.

53 comments:

must be true said...

Payback methinks fienienstile

David Boothroyd said...

All this is true. (I also watched the Spotlight programme which was quite devastating)

And yet in the round Peter Robinson's conduct was understandable, certainly if it was true (and there's no evidence to contradict it) that he only knew about the loans to his wife at a very late stage. His first thought was to try to help his wife get out of trouble but the rules on declaration of interest seem to be absolutely clear.

Iris Robinson is still a current serving Castlereagh Borough Councillor as well as MLA and MP. Unless the Spotlight allegations are wholly inaccurate she had a duty of declaration about the loan to each of them.

Also (and 'I am not a lawyer') I'm not sure if she could actually demand repayment from Kirk McCambley. If she took money as a loan to her, but then passed it on to McCambley as a gift, she cannot legally convert it into a loan later and demand repayment from him.

J said...

Hello everyone inside the Westminster bubble.

If you look out the window you will see snow.

More is forecast.

There isn't enough road grit in the country.

Lorries from the supermarket depots need gritted roads to get to the supermarkets.

If the snow continues there WILL be a national emergency so bad the government will fall, but that will be the least of our worries.

We are days away, IF the snow keeps falling.

Jo Anglezarke said...

'People will now naturally ask how true her confession of mental illness really was. She clearly attempted to kill herself, although we're not told how near she came or how she tried to do it. That in itself is not proof of mental illness.'

Are you suggesting she may have faked a suicide attempt? That would be extremely hard, particularly if she ended up in hospital as I understood it from the clip shown on newsnight.

You are well on your way to arguing for the non-existence of mental illness when you say you don't have to be mentally ill to want to kill yourself - this isn't surprising given your tory views I suppose. I expect you just think of it as an extension of despair.

I am against homophobia in all its forms but have a lot of sympathy for her situation.

19 is also well over the age of consent which is 16 and doesn't indicate any paedophilic tendencies at all as he is an adult.

Mirtha Tidville said...

Lets be fair, if you`d been married to someone as humourless, bigoted and unappealing as Peter Robinson for 40 years wouldnt you fancy a quickie with a 19 year old ...Must have been a change to say the least. The mental illness bit appears to be the first refuge of a scoundrel, though, in this case methinks...

Just goes to show politics is and always has been a dirty and corrupt affair. Time for Mr plod to be involved before the `bed goes cold` so to speak...

Kath said...

It's still corruption at the heart of government. The problem for Peter is that he is now vulnerable due to his wife's behaviour. This won't be seen well by the DUP's religious base, a woman of her age with a lad so young. It depends on how that goes with their older conservative electorate.

There are some within the party who blame him for pushing out Paisley, and there is the threat from the TUV, so this is a destabilising factor. Policing and justice, the last piece of the jigsaw needs to get into place, but hardly now, that poses problems for Sinn Fein, and the whole process.

Peter Robinson is a shrewd politician, I wouldn't underestimate his political sophistication, this issue has been handled by him very well, he may survive, but as you say not as first minister or leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.

We can only speculate and wait and see how this plays out in the coming days.

Iain Dale said...

Jo, with respect that's a load of crap. You clearly didnt bother to read what I wrote. You read what you thought I had written. I didn't suggest at all that she had faked a suicide attempt. I dont believe that for one minute.

It was the programme which made the paedophilia comment, not me.

It's an interesting point as to whether if you try to kill yourself you are automatically classed as mentally ill. I would say not, but I accept that it is arguable.

Ross said...

Peter Robinson's actions are understandable, but he should still stand down.

Iris Robinson is a disgrace.

Jo Anglezarke said...

Iain - I'm afraid I can't engage with people who use the word 'crap' at me...it vexes me too much. It makes my forehead pulse.

Many best wishes

Benny said...

Apparently it's not going to be on the iPlayer according to the BBC spotlight website.

I wonder if it'll be repeated or anyone can save it/host it.


(by the way.....the word verification word is 'slycanat' = sly c**t. I think that describes Iris very well.

Iain Dale said...

Jo, what a delicate little flower we are.

fyoc said...

Iain,

Someone who argues so strongly against the evil of paedophilia is probably hiding something deep down within themself. Although the age of consent is 16, you are indeed right to question the motives of someone who has a sexual relationship with someone 40 years her junior.

She is a hypocrite of the highest order.

Ben said...

Peter's statements yesterday were designed to establish a firebreak between him and his wife. This may well have worked, but in the machismo dominated society of the DUP, it may not last for long. She is sure to be cast into the outer darkness, and he will either look complicit or cuckold. Neither is particularly appealing. I'm betting on a resignation, which, as a Northern Ireland Conservative, I'm pretty delighted at.

John MacLeod said...

I agree with your political analysis, Iain - if this is indeed how things were, he is finished. But some of the comments in this thread are acutely depressing. The woman is ruined; her reputation is rubble... and justly so; Peter Robinson is humiliated, and understandably so. The sheer, gloating joy evident in a couple of remarks reflects only an utter lack of common humanity.

Jabba the Cat said...

How fortuitous, the top two expenses troughing piggies from Northern Ireland commit political suicide...next please.

tapestry said...

This suggests more a gigolo type relationship than paedophilia. People often forget that women also use prostitutes.

I was at a Conservative fund-raiser once in London, and was sat next to a very wealthy eighty something year old lady whose earrings alone looked about £250,000 a side.

She had just moved from Monte Carlo to London, and I asked he why she has chosen to come back to Blighty. She said most candidly,'I had so much trouble with the gigolos.'!

Why not if it's your money and you're lonely. It's not the sexual aspects of the Robinson story which appear troublesome, but the financial.

Mr Eugenides said...

For the life of me I can't see what Peter Robinson has done wrong. No-one is denying that he was in the dark for most of the time (obviously) and then when he found out, he tried to get his wife to do the right thing.

His wife, of course, is a different matter.

In the annals of contemporary political graft and corruption it's a vanishingly small offence, particularly when you consider the crimes of some of his ministerial colleagues.

Bavarian Orange Order said...

She was so overwrought with guilt that she tried to top herself - and yet she was not feeling bad enough to return the cash? And Peter could not even persuade a woman at her lowest ebb to do the right thing?
Sounds fishy.

Cardinal Richelieu's mole said...

If he adopts New Labour world, there is no need for him to resign though, is there? The standard 6 point formula is easy: -

1. Say everything is very well indeed, nothing wrong at all, ordinary people up and down the country more concerned with real issues, all much, much better than 13 years ago under the Tories anyway.

2. What was done was done as it seemed ok at the time so it was the right thing to do - end of!

3. May have been some errors in the nature of technical breaches, but not important - have been/might be instantly corrected, and in any case self-reported to a toothless supervisory body of mates.

4. What is most important now is getting on with the job - it is what people expect.

5. Recall everything really and truly is very well indeed, nothing wrong at all - don't forget the Tories all those years ago. State it is time to move on.

6. [And only if under extreme pressure] Say "But I like my job and want to keep it so have decided to do so".

Cynic said...

Isn't there a wider issue?

What is the political culture and relationship when, if as the BBC alleged, an MP and Councillor can feel that she just walk into the officers of two property developers and walk out with two gifts totalling £50,000 with apparently no expectation that they will be repaid? Then first take an immediate cut of £5000 for herself before aiming to appropriate £20,000 more to pay off 'massive debts' - bearing in mind that over the last 7 years she has claimed almost £1m in expenses from the Commons alone, never mind the Assembly and Council expenses and three salaries?

And then the allegation that, when she attempted suicide, she remained at home all night as they couldn't get a doctor to attend, then next morning her husband left for work at the Assembly while a SpAd and two doctors arranged for her to be taken to hospital? The juxtaposition of him standing in the Assembly that day telling jokes and this story was frankly chilling.

But if you want to understand Iris read this. Its a stunningly good pen picture by Suzanne Breen

http://www.tribune.ie/article/2008/apr/20/the-world-according-to-iris/?q=iris%20robinson

Unsworth said...

@ Jo Anglezarke

So, you actually have a forehead then?

It's the usual Lefty bollox of trying to control the debate by controlling the language. Petty, stupid and ultimately futile.

Half The Story said...

So she was slagging off the gays, whilst chomping at the bit of a 19 year old.

Freaking marvellous.

Munch munch young boy.

jdgwright said...

Looks to me like a low-budget remake of "The Graduate"...

Sic Semper Tyrannis said...

I have no idea whether the allegations against either of the Robinsons are true, and I don't particularly care; if they become proven then both should resign, of course.

What I do wonder is, would the BBC have reported them so gleefully had they concerned, for example, the wife of Adams or McGuinness?

perforatedulster said...

Knowing Iain's distaste for Iris Robinson, I commend him for his restrained comments.

I am not a supporter of the DUP and from a partisan point of view this must make it more likely that the Conservative & Unionist force will regain Iris Robinson's seat in parliament. (The DUP is probably unassailable in Peter's seat)

However, we have only heard the case for the prosecution, it was hardly a balanced report. BBC and reporter bias must be taken into account. The reporter is from the Irish Republic and is probably a nationalist. For Peter Robinson's initial response, see this link.

Clearly it is embarrassing for Peter, but he may be able to turn it into a knuckle-rapping rather than a hanging issue, especially if Iris resigns immediately rather than waiting for the election.

I hope he can continue, as the alternative leaders in the DUP are less palatable, and I don't think his resignation can precipitate an Assembly election. Peter represents the pragmatic wing of the DUP. He is not a Free Presbyterian and is more capable of cooperating with other parties.

His demeanour during his statement probably reflects the distaste of many Ulster Protestant men to air their personal life (good or bad) in public.

Modern ideas that a husband and wife's personal and work life can be kept separate is a nonsense. Just ask Cheri Blair or even Prince Philip. Mrs Bercow take note! Iris rose beyond her level of incompetence on the coat-tails of her more capable husband (I don't know what Sammy Wilson's excuse is). To some extent, this reflects the DUP as a first-generation party founded on the sweat of a few faithful families, as well as its laudable pro-family approach, but its dynastic nature rivals the Gandhis.

Hawkeye said...

Iain said: "Jo, what a delicate little flower we are."

Don't be silly Iain. Your rather mild expletive was an excellent opportunity for Jo to cut'n'run. After all, when you discover you've dug a hole for yourself, the first thing to do is to stop digging...


John MacLeod said: "The sheer, gloating joy evident in a couple of remarks reflects only an utter lack of common humanity."

No John - it is "common humanity" because that's what most people are like. Why do think the Germans came up with a word like "Schadenfreude"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schadenfreude

Sean Haffey said...

Iain

This is your blog but it seems to me that with your intelligence, insight and compassion you'd find better things to write about.

Yes, it's a story. A lot of what appears in the Sun is a story. Your blog is generally several steps above the Sun.

Madasafish said...

There in nothing wrong with anyone of 59 having sex with a 19 year old if both parties are willing..

But when you live by your religious persuasions...and rant on about them...

Letters From A Tory said...

Whether his position is untenable depends on how much he knew, when he knew it and what he did about it.

If he covered anything up or held anything back from authorities, he's toast. If not, he could ride this one out.

Timothy Belmont said...

The developments within the past week regarding the Robinsons have been utterly astonishing. Startling. Quite extraordinary. Has Mrs Robinson, inadvertently or through naivety, destroyed her husband's career? And herself?

Peter Robinson's position could now become increasingly untenable, which shan't make developments at Stormont any easier, given senior DUP figures who are even more "hard-line".

Chekov said...

Iain I think you might have got your chronology a bit mixed up. Although Peter did not know about the affair until March, I believe that he knew about the money as early as Christmas last year. It was during that period, when the Robinsons were at their Florida villa, that Peter began to take charge and insist that Iris paid money back.

Of course we also learnt during the documentary that she'd taken £5K off the young chap to begin with, then requested that he repay the full £50K!

JeffPeel said...

Peter Robinson should resign immediately. http://jeffpeel.net/2010/01/08/why-peter-robinson-must-resign/

Timothy Belmont said...

It's hard to understand - at present - why Mrs Robinson accepted £5,000 back from her lover. The Robinsons surely did not need the money.

OldSlaughter said...

Will she stone herself to death?

I love watching piety in action.

On a side note, doesn't the 19 year old's behaviour come a bit close to prostitution?

Jane said...

I was initially sympathetic to Mrs Robinson's statement that she was suffering from depression etc. However, after the revelations I now consider this claim to be a cynical plot to evade criminal proceedings. The statement was only made by both the Robinson's when they knew that the BBC had investigated the couple's affairs which were to be boradcast.

I believe that Mrs Robinson was critical of Hilary Clinton for standing by her husband when his sexual activities with his intern were disclosed. Her views on homosexuality too were abhorrent. She is now asking for forgiveness when her actions one could argue were despicable as well as violating the code by which she has consistently judged others. She abused her position as a family friend and elected representative in engaging in a sexual relationship with this young man. Could he say no - he was dependent on her for setting up a business venture in terms of finances and approval from the local Council where Mrs Robinson failed to declare an interest. I somehow have difficulty in seeing this as a loving consensual relationship when power was with one person (as well as the elder partner) and under my code it is tantamount to abuse.

I have my own moral code but do not expect others to behave in the same way. Neither do I feel it is right for any elected representative to offer us their views on human behaviour based on their religious beliefs. I therefore have no truck with Mrs Robinson's transgressions because I have had to listen to her spouting off over years as if her moral code was better than that of the rest of us.

Does she deserve forgiveness. Absolutely. ONLY after she is dealt with for the many offences she has committed.

Should her husband resign. Absolutely as he was aware of her transgressions regarding her duties as an elected representative.

Q said...

a woman who railed against the evils of paedophilia

Jesus Wept, Iain. I know it was not your intention but re-read what you've written! Sloppy language makes it look as though you're defending paedophilia.

FFS, man. Everyone rails against paedophilia! What you mean is that it's a bit rich for this woman to do what she has done given that she regularly compares homosexuality between consenting adults to paedophile rape.

That's what you mean but it's not what you actually said. Tidy it up quickly, you mad rocket.

strapworld said...

Iain, I heard you on the radio yesterday and my wife and me thought you were quite understanding, on the facts known at that time of course. You were also spot on, totally, about the religious fervour in Northern Ireland, likening it to the American Evangalists.

(I agree, a first, but it is a New Year, with David Boothroyd.)

When I saw the Robinson video reading his prepared statement, looking drawn and near death's door, I was reminded of the times I was in Northern Ireland during the troubles. The radio stations spouting religious programmes which would have gone down well in Wesley's day, quite strange. So his wife's behaviour would be regarded as extremely sinful by Robinson's supporters.

I, being the cynic I am, came to the conclusion that he was fighting to save his political neck.

By the way, I do not think he mentioned the previous March, when the affair came to light, So,Why Now?

WillS said...

"If I were being prurient I could repeat the programme's assertion..."

Well, you just have, so clearly you are. Hypocrisy is a legitimate target, attacking someone for *not* breaking the law (19 is well above the age of consent) is petty.

Will said...

Starting a sentence with "with respect" and then being disrespectful, or "if I were being prurient" and then being prurient makes you sound like the manner of borderline-human who says things like "I'm not racist but...".

Also, it's a little childish to crow about driving away a critic by offending them isn't it? I had heard that this blog was well-read; do you not feel that it would show more respect to your readers not to misuse emotive terms like "paedophile"? That seems to be little more than trolling to me...

Will said...

Starting a sentence with "with respect" and then being disrespectful, or "if I were being prurient" and then being prurient makes you sound like the manner of borderline-human who says things like "I'm not racist but...".

Also, it's a little childish to crow about driving away a critic by offending them isn't it? I had heard that this blog was well-read; do you not feel that it would show more respect to your readers not to misuse emotive terms like "paedophile"? That seems to be little more than trolling to me...

Jess The Dog said...

It will be interesting to see how this goes down in the Ballymena Bible Belt, which I know quite well.

As well as churchgoing and public moralising, the locals enjoy a good bit of scandal and are very tribal. We've seen how religious faith is no barrier to private hypocrisy in this case. So I wouldn't leap to conclusions about the future of the Robinsons.

Maybe this actually explains some of Mrs Robinson's bizarre rants concerning gay people, inspired in part by her own self-loathing and guilt.

I do hope her recovery and return to psychological well-being embraces greater tolerance towards the views, rights and lives of others and an understanding of the impact her behaviour may have on the mental health of other people.

Certain others who have confessed very publicly to psychological problems and depression don't seem to have grasped this concept.

bryan s said...

Listening to all the party leaders today on Radio Ulster the only one who was to the point was Jim Alister - not my favourite politico - but it was he and only he who asked the obvious question. Why was it easy for Iris to get 2 property developers to cough up £25K - one of whom didn't even want it back. He asked 'was this a regular occourance' or a one off?

canvas said...

Her extramarital affairs are none of my business - and as far the age difference goes she's no different than Ronnie Wood really. None of our business....

However, after hearing her homophobic remarks I feel justified in calling her a big old hypocrite - she should drop the moralising...

And the dodgy financial affairs , well, it's crap really.

She might have been suffering from mental illness ...but we're all screaming on the inside...

David Lindsay said...

Here’s to you, Mrs Robinson. Right when the “dissident Republicans”, who would be dead if they were actually any such thing, are so visibly on the rise. Northern Ireland was carved up between members of a bizarre fundamentalist sect (unconnected to mainstream Ulster Protestantism, very Protestant though that undoubtedly is) and a Marxist guerrilla organisation. Such was the cutting edge of “centrist” politics. And we all approve of that. Don’t we?

Calling something “the centre ground”, so that anything else isn’t, is really a way of calling it “the only acceptable opinion”. The “moderate”, “mainstream”, “Centre Left” New Labour was and is riddled with unrepentant old Communist, fellow-travellers and Trotskyists. New Labourites sang, not The Red Flag, but The Internationale, at the funerals of Donald Dewar and Robin Cook. And, despite also being openly funded by the CIA through NORAID, the Soviet-funded IRA was an integral part of this little world. It still is.

Likewise, the “moderate”, “mainstream”, “Centre Right” Cameroons include unrepentant old paid cheerleaders for the Boer Republic set up as an explicit act of anti-British revenge in a former Dominion of the Crown, as well as unrepentant former paid defenders of Pinochet’s Chile. Some of them once moved in circles in which it was also de rigueur to demand the dismantlement of the public services, the legalisation of all drugs, the abolition of any minimum age of consent, and much else besides. Once again, these views have never been recanted; indeed, they have largely come to pass. And once again, Northern Ireland, in this case the DUP and those sections of the UUP which have since left it, was and remains integral.

Look at the things that “centre ground” politicians all support, so that any deviation is “extremism”. From the Iraq War, to the funny-money flogging off of the schools and the hospitals, to practically uncontrolled immigration, are these policies with which most people would at least broadly agree?

“The centre ground” also includes support for the European Union, which subjects us, both in the European Parliament and in the coalitions filling the Council of Ministers, to the legislative will of assorted Stalinists, Trotskyists, neo-Fascists, neo-Nazis, East European kleptomaniacs and other neocon crazies, and people who regard the Provisional Army Council as the sovereign body throughout Ireland. If “the centre ground” has its way, then those ranks will soon to be swelled by Turkish Islamists, Turkish ultra-nationalists, and Marxist Kurdish separatists.

New Labour has duly installed in the Speaker’s Chair the erstwhile Secretary of the Race and Repatriation Committee of the Monday Club. And the New Tories are heavily dependent on Demos, one of several continuity organisations created out of the ruins of the Communist Party of Great Britain, though whose founding director, Geoff Mulgan, is ecumenically a veteran Trotskyist. Mulgan is on course for a peerage and Ministerial office under Cameron.

And so on, and on, and on, and on, and on.

Don’t vote for any of them. Make alternative arrangements. Or end up like Northern Ireland, land of the “dissident Republicans” and the dissolute Robinsons.

justinf said...

was listening to irish radio over the internet today. the analysis in summary was that iris robinson's position as a politician is utterly finished. and that Peter has about 2 weeks to shore up his evangelical protestant base.

justinf said...

"Sean Haffey said...

Iain

This is your blog but it seems to me that with your intelligence, insight and compassion you'd find better things to write about.
January 08, 2010 9:28 AM"

with respect , i disagree Mr Haffey. This story is absolutely huge in Ireland , both north AND south.

And since the Conservative party is actually the Conservative and UNIONIST party, it is well within Mr Dale's remit to comment on this.

It could potentially have enormous ramifications for the political process in Northern Ireland for starters, should the DUP split into pro and anti Robinson camps, with Sinn Fein becoming the the biggest party by default.

Yes , the implications of this are indeed that big.

John Trenchard said...

am i being too paranoid, or do other find the timing of this story quite remarkable.

after all, it has only be revealed right after the revelations on Gerry Adams' paedo brother and abuser father.

Is someone finally placing their cards on the table with regards to the entire Northern Ireland political class?

Bear in mind that the UDA recently announced that their weapons are decomissioned... is this a parting gift by a disgruntled UDA member?

( especially in light of the "real" ira being still active? such as that bomb blast that has a cop in critical condition)

Rob said...

Fair enough if he was 16. But 19? I mean come on, ffs. It's not even in the same league as paedophilia, or the same fricking universe.

John Trenchard said...

my guess is that Kincora (google it if you dont know) will raise its ugly head in the coming weeks, with more revelations about others in the northern ireland establishment.

What one has to ask though is the stereotypical "Qui Bono" - who benefits?

Lets be clear here - Northern Ireland is a failed statelet , only propped up by enormous subsidies by Westminster and the European Union.

It is also a corner of Europe that has been utterly impervious to the multi-cultural/immigrant agenda , as evidenced by the running out of Belfast town of Roma Gypsies by the locals or the pitched battle fights between Poles coming up from the south and unionist football fans. (google for both of them.. happened in the last few years.)

Bear in mind also that Sinn Fein publicly campaigned against the Lisbon Treaty.

And bear in mind, despite what Cameron says, that the Tories are going to be facing one heck of a challenge once they discover to true extent of the book cooking under Gordon Brown with regards to the economy of Britain. And i fear its going to be far far worse than we ever expected.

What one ends up with is a lethal mixture (for Northern Ireland politicos) of enemies in the EU who want to reshape Northern Ireland, and UK politicians who would rather forget about them.

My crystal ball prediction: you'll see the British Conservative Party fighting for seats in Tyrone against Fianna Fail.

The mainstream politics of Ireland and Britain will become the norm in NI. with the DUP and SF marginalised.

crazy idea i know, but i think that is where this is heading.

thoughts?

The Lakelander said...

And here's to you, Mrs Robinson

perforatedulster said...

Peter Robinson's interview for the BBC can be seen here.

He claims the cheques were payable from the donors to the business. This implies that at no time was the money given to Iris. He regarded Iris's proposed method of repayment to be improper, and insisted that the money be repaid to the donors through a solicitor.

The main allegation against Peter Robinson is that he did not disclose his wife's failure to report the receipt of the money. If it is true that the money never belonged to her, I don't see how Iris should or even could have declared it in the register of members' interests, as the money was never hers. The journalist may not have been sufficiently rigorous in his allegations.

The alleged £5000 cashback was never discussed.

Personally, I think Iris has behaved improperly, but possibly not illegally. Ethically, she should have declared an interest in the business she helped to support when the tenancy was up for grabs, but as the young man was not a relative and she had no financial stake in the business, there may be no legal need to.

(Incidentally I am trying to be impartial. I do not support the DUP, far from it. I despise the Labour party, but I thought some Labour politicians were badly treated over their election expenses, with mountains made out of very small molehills. Difference was that Labour made the foolish rules they transgressed.)

Keir said...

It was shocking to see how gaunt Robinson looked in his televised speech. Clearly he's preoccupied with the greatest personal crisis he's ever faced; I too can't see how he can justify staying in power, at least until he has the time and space to sort his private life out.

Ulidia said...

Perforatedduster's posts are definitely the one's with most balance. There is no doubt that Iris Robinson has serious questions to answer but technically not even the programme makers or the informant claimed that the money was paid to her - hence as PD states no case to answer for Peter Robinson.

The programme was clearly a bit of a hatchet job facilitated by a man, Selwyn Black, who as a publicly paid political advisor to Mrs Robinson should have given proper political advice instead of apparently facilitating her actions.

The PROPER course of action for him was to report it MUCH EARLIER through the proper civil servant channels whereby an unbiased investigation could have taken place rather than allowing himself to be used/handled by the media for apparent sensationalism.

It is not clear WHEN and WHY he had his jolt of conscience but it would appear to be rather late in the day. It will be interesting to find out what his REAL motivation was and what if any 'pay off' he receives/ has received.