So the review of the OTR scheme by a British judge has found it to be ‘not unlawful’ and not secret (pretty much how Dominic Grieve, British Attorney General, had described it before the review). Earlier on today Secretary of State Theresa Villiers made an oral statement to the House of Commons to coincide with the release of the report.
The report itself is quite substantial and I’d not expect too much informed reaction to the details, beyond the executive summary, for a while. One section that will be of interest will be Appendix 9 which details a timeline of relevant material in the public domain including press and Hansard extracts. The report doesn’t contain a list of names of those said to have received letters as part of the scheme. Whether it then passes the Robinson test as a resigning matter, isn’t clear. When the review was announced, he withdrew a threat to resign on the grounds that:
“I do not intend to resign, on the basis that if you get what you want why on earth would you want to resign”
So, given the report doesn’t find the scheme either unlawful or secret, is that what Peter Robinson wants?
At the weekend, the Sunday World was speculating that he was about to be pushed, rather than resign, a claim denied by his purported successor-in-waiting Sammy Wilson. Now, he is likely to face more pressure over the outcome of the review. All the while, with that Assembly Report hanging over his head.
So, will the Hallett report be an opportunistic exit strategy with some faux moral high ground to resign over?