Privy to the files

Peter Robinson and Jeffrey Donaldson are to be appointed Privy Councillors. UTV is reporting this is to enable them to have direct access to the latest intelligence. They will be charged with a monitoring role along with DUP Policing Board members.

  • pith

    Jeffrey Donaldson always comes across as someone who thinks the ‘latest intelligence’ is the last correct answer on Who wants to be a Millionaire.

  • james orr

    Will they be reading reports from J118 and J119 – and will they discover the true identities of all of the MI5 / MI6 plants?

  • Unionist Observer

    I think this is great news and I bet there will be a few sick Ulster Unionists tonight. All those begrudgers who said Jeffrey wouldn’t prosper in the DUP have been proven wrong because he has proven that it was the UUP policy and not him which was the problem.

  • Smithsonian

    Unionist Observer
    Does the word hypocrisy have any meaning for you or will we have to rely upon the phrase “political opportunism”?

  • SuperSoupy

    Is there another salary in this for Robo?

  • Ken Reid believes this is all about access for the DUP to MI5 files…

    Can anyone tell me when the senior bods in the DUP didn’t have access to intelligence files…?

  • And so the sidedealery continues…

  • Fraggle

    I wonder how the english feel about having [eds: removed] robinson in their privy council.

  • Bigger Picture

    Why has Donaldson been selected for this position?? Certainly McCrea has been a longer serving Parliamentarian and Dodds is higher up the DUP pecking order after all this is a Parliamentary honour not a security position!! The phrase Teacher’s pet comes to mind….

  • bruce

    Fraggle
    Robinson has no terrorist convictions. Knowing his record in libel cases I expect legal action to follow.
    Incidentally the Privy Council is not an English body it is a UK body.

  • bruce

    Bigger Picture
    I do not believe membership of the Privy Council is based on length of service but if it was Parliamentary precident counts length of service only on the basis of unbroken service and Donaldson has the longest unbroken service at Westminster after Paisley and Robinson.

  • Ah it’s enough to make you wonder whether politics is worth the paper its written on in this country.

    If Donaldson can become a privy councillor, a Rt Hon member, then it serves to vindicate the sham that is elite-appointments.

  • bruce

    Why question Jeffrey becomming a PC. Don’t forget that lesser people – John Taylor was a PC of sorts.

  • Roger

    Two complete hypocrites who will do nothing within their new role except pick up an extra salary, Unionism is finished when these two reptiles represent its future.

  • Codyisadog

    #

    Bruce
    Robinson has no terrorist convictions. Knowing his record in libel cases I expect legal action to follow.

    Did not the said Mr Robinson have a conviction in relation to the terorist invasion of Clontibrit ?. I would like to be enlightened .

  • Mick Fealty

    Ciad,

    How exactly is that a ‘terrorist offence’?

    All,

    I am not sure under who’s prerogative such intelligence briefings can take place. As a body the PC appears to be largely symbolic, but it does allow the DUP limited access to intelligence briefings, which is nevertheless short of membership of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

    It looks like something that has been hammered out in the post St Andrews Agreement, in response to the agreed porting of Special Branch functions into MI5. Given a triple lock veto still remains with the DUP over the devolution of policing and justice powers, this looks like a formal channel for them, and them only, to enable them to make a credible judgement on whether the IRA remains stood down.

  • heck

    I am waiting for gerry adams to be made a privy councilor and have acccess to the latest intelligence. He has a long service and an MP–longer i think than donaldson–correct me if I am wrong

  • pith

    John Taylor was (and is) a Northern Ireland Privy Councillor – a trapping of the old Stormont government. That local Privy Council was never abolished (deceased members were simply not replaced) and some of its members continued using the Rt Hon title. John Taylor was never a member of the Privy Council proper.

    There is undoubtedly a Molyneaux aspect to Donaldson’s membership of the real thing.

  • Mick Fealty

    Have you read the oath heck? If he won’t take his seat in parliament, I can’t see it happening…

  • darth rumsfeld

    so Punt and Jeffrey can hear all about the (very filtered)intelligence on Privy Council terms which..er.. means that whatever they hear about they can never tell anyone not even their wives.

    If the PM told the Privy Council that a united Ireland was happening at midnight our two heroes couldn’t breath a word to anyone!!

    Punt could expect this honour as deppity soon to be leader of the fourth largest party, and Jeffrey is the DUP man about Westminster-far more than all the rest- and it’s probably a consolation for no ministerial car this time ( tho we do hear the DUP are promising to rotate all posts throughout the lifeof the Assembly- buns for everyone!).

    What this really shows is the absolute contempt the big parties felt for the UUP. Molyneaux was kept waiting for years for what was his right, and none of his backbenchers received it- Ross as Chief Whip of the then 4th party had an entitlement to expect it. I well remember how wee Jim was pleased as punch at this worthless bauble and the grey men around him told us how this bode well for the Union, since it showed how much the Tories respected him. Aye right.

    Donaldson knows this of course, as does Punt. But they’re now content to be part of the dance

  • huh?

    “I think this is great news and I bet there will be a few sick Ulster Unionists tonight. All those begrudgers who said Jeffrey wouldn’t prosper in the DUP have been proven wrong because he has proven that it was the UUP policy and not him which was the problem. ”

    Jeez, did someone lock you in a box around 2004 and only let u out today?

  • mchinadog

    Congratulations to both Peter and Jeffrey another part of the Fair Deal in place, the nationalist begrudgers are out in force regarding these appointments all of which proves that Northern Ireland is still very much an integrate part of the United Kingdom.

  • Bigger Picture

    Bruce,

    True i won’t argue with your reasoning in regards to Parliamentary service. However as many people, including yourself, have stated it probably didnt have anything to do with this. Ive nothing personal against JD however why have longer serving members of the DUP been overlooked for a position that isnt based on unbroken length of service in Parliament?? Instead it’s been given to a newcomer, to keep onside maybe?? Is it a thanks for unwavering suppport of the benevolant leader??

  • ingram

    Hi,

    There seems to be some confusion about the role of a PC?

    They will not be supplied with or have access to on a regular and ongoing basis to any Intelligence unless it is in respect to a specific point of contention.

    They are not charged with an oversight role but on the very, very rare occassion a PC is called upon to give an opinion based upon the information supplied.

    It should also be noted that NO minister or PC is given the ID or means of collection of Intelligence. They are given the refined product but the actual ID of the Hum Int or the method of collection ie electronic or passive collection is not disclosed. There are some very basic and obvious reasons for that position.

    1. No minister OR PC can be blamed for having certain knowledge of the ID of any compromised or active agent or the method employed involved in the collection of that Intelligence. The present secretary of state for NI and others in the past have admitted that they do not know the actual agents that generate Intelligence. That saves them from being involved in contentious cases like Finucane etc .

    Heck,

    In respect to Gerry Adams. LOL. I think the vetting ( PV) officer would be having fits of laughter at that comment. There are laid down rules and regulations in respect to access to classified material and the position of PC.Ministers do not have the right to over rule that requirement.Indeed both Donnaldson and Robinson would has Northern Ireland born citizens be denied access to any product marked up with the caveat UK eye`s A .

    Ding Ding

    Martin

  • ingram

    Hi,

    http://www.privy-council.org.uk

    http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/notes/snpc-3708.pdf

    These two documents give a brief insight into this ancient body.

    Regards.

    Ingram

  • darth rumsfeld

    ingram
    I think it is the DUP spin that links the PC appointments with their supposed access to sensitive information. As I posted above, this is a bogus claim, as anything shown on PC terms will not be raw data, and cannot be used by them in any event

  • It’s a joke. As if the DUP are going to say anything that will bring down their government.

  • Whatever Next

    Ingram, as you’re generally winding out the people who most need to be wound up, there’s little point in interrupting you, but you’re some distance offbeam re NI-born bods and what they can see. I can think, off the top of my head, of a good half dozen NI-born secret people, all vastly senior – with all due respect to you – than your good self, and if you think they were under some sort of geographical litmus test as they went about their days’ work, well, honestly.

    The PC membership is of course a bauble, but a pleasant one, and as such there’s no real grounds for (Unionists) knocking it. Donaldson clearly is the senior man in the DUP after Robinson, having served a full five year parliament longer than Dodds (and McCrea, always marginal, having lost his seat in between getting one back). Can’t disagree with a word Darth says here and elsewhere: the UUP was finished the moment the fools round Trimble let him drice Donaldson out of the party.

  • pith

    Length of service is totally irrelevant. If a general election were held today and a newly elected MP became a Secretary of State next week then he or she as a cabinet minister would become a Privy Councillor automatically.

    As far as NI politicians are concerned it is indeed nothing more than a pleasant bauble. As Molyneaux’s student it will surely mean a lot to Donaldson. It’s a British as Finchley thing.

  • Yokel

    The DUP were after an ISC position. Are they going to get one at some point or not?

  • heck

    Mick My comment was more a tongue in cheek attempt to point out the undemocratic nature of the privy council. Inram’s comment is much more serious and shows the contempt these people have for democratic norms. His comment “There are laid down rules and regulations in respect to access to classified material and the position of PC. Ministers do not have the right to over rule that requirement” shows the nature of “british democracy” Democracy means that the people , through their elected representatives, tell civil servants (and that is what the spooks are) who they show “classified material” material to not the other way round. Ignoring Nor Iron for a minute, the idea that ministers can not tell faceless men on the public payroll what they want to see is the complete opposite of democracy. Like the concept of “the rule of law” “democracy” is a barb that some bloggers (sorry pete- commentators) on this site throw at fenians rather than a principle they believe in.

    Ingram states “The present secretary of state for NI and others in the past have admitted that they do not know the actual agents that generate Intelligence. That saves them from being involved in contentious cases like Finucane etc”. What does this mean in terms of hold governments accountable at the ballot box? If ministers don’t know then it is because of willful blindness. They have a responsibility to seek information from these people and if the don’t give it then sack them. That is real democracy not the sham that Ingram defended in his days as a British soldier.

    Ding a ling martin

  • Whatever Next

    My bet? Yes, but they’ll have to pony up something solid for Brown first. No idea what: maybe the Punt having to front up some much needed public spending cuts rather than the Treasury?

  • Of course, the problem with this for Robinson and Donaldson and Paisley is that they will now have to keep shtum about secret material they were previously able to release to the media….

    Does this mean that Donaldson, a serial complainer that he was being bugged by MI5, will no longer be a target of that organisation.

  • pith

    Don’t confuse him