Ian Paisley Jnr has chosen now to add his opinion on the future leadership of the DUP. He believes Robinson is the heir apparent and praises his loyalty and support for Paisley Senior.

“He has given considerable support and loyalty towards the leader of the party…”

He added:

“…and I don’t see why you would move away from that presumption. They’re not issues we are currently involved in because it is not an issue which is top of the leader’s agenda.”

Paisley Jnr could be simply commenting on media speculation but perhaps not.The statement seems to include a number of sub-texts – that loyalty and support is expected, that they will be rewarded but patience is required.

During the Christmas period Suzanne Breen specualted on a change of DUP leadership with Peter Robinson the virtually unassailable choice for leader. A journalist generally considered to have developed good sources and relationships with senior members of the DUP and the Robinson camp in particular. At the time I commented:

“It has also been a general rule among leading DUP members avoided leadership speculation like the plague for fear of Paisley’s and his supporters ire. If that rule changes in 2008 then the sands have genuinely started to shift.”

The Irish Times piece by Frank Millar saw the leadership speculation clearly fed and at a senior level.

The thread also noted that:

“Unstated is the family linkage, with Paisley Snr comes Paisley Jnr around whom the most significant political controversies of 2007 have swirled. 2008 will show whether this pattern continues or not.”

Less than three weeks into a new year the pattern has continued with little likelihood of it disappearing from the headlines in the coming months as official complaints are investigated and journalists continue to dig. The lack of full-throated defence of Paisley Jnr by senior members of the DUP is also probably worth noting.

The Paisley thread also ended with a question:

“However, the DUP has shown itself to be sufficiently ruthless to guarantee its success, could, should and would the same ruthlessness be applied to its co-founder and leader in 2008?”

The Irish Times shows it is being genuinely considered at a senior level. This brings us to the last significant inclusion in Pailsey Jnr’s statement, the identification of a specific heir. The Irish Times suggested a majority of MPs in favour of change but noted that:

“However, some senior sources insist there is no consensus behind one candidate and it is believed North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds could also be a contender “

Is this an attempt to play on the competing leadership ambitions to upset the claimed ‘majority’ view for change sooner rather than later? Will it work?

Perhaps this is all too Machiavellian for a Saturday morning but it would appear the sands have started to shift.

The Politics Show will add its thoughts tomorrow.

  • justthoughtidask

    If it was a steeplechase, that’s an extra 4 stone just added to Robbo’s weight.

    I’ll bet the ringing endorsement of the party embarassment was the last thing he wanted to hear.

  • steve48

    Strikes me that jnr is trying to get back into the pack to give himself some cover.

    Given the embarrassment he has caused Nigel over the Causeway he is hardly likely to be welcome in that particular camp.

  • JJ

    Given that the leadership is decided by the Assembly group, how many of the assembly members would be in the Robinson camp, and how many in the Dodds camp or anybody else? I would have thought that the majority would back robinson.

  • Bigger Picture


    In relation to the question above I would say it would be very very evenly split. Most of the newer generation would favour Robbo eg Donaldson, Foster etc etc but more of the senior figures supporting Nigel eg the other MPs and Lord Morrow. Really would be tough to call but I don’t reckon there will be a contest, there’ll be give and take between the two with an agreement at the end.

  • bearsinthewoods

    And in other news today Ian Paisley junior confirmed that the Pope is indeed a Catholic and that bears visit the woods for toiletary purposes.

    Whilst there is probably some weight in the comment that Ian Jnr’s recommendation is maybe not exactly what you want at the minute it seems to be a recognition of the obvious. Robinson’s profile pre and post devolution has stayed extremely high whilst Dodds, even doing a good job, hasn’t had anywhere near the same level of exposure.

    The Gerry McHugh stuff about the DUP running Stormont really could have read that Peter Robinson is running it.

  • Sir Herbert Mercer

    “The Gerry McHugh stuff about the DUP running Stormont really could have read that Peter Robinson is running it.”

    Except that’s not the case

  • cut the bull

    A blind man could see that Robinson has been leading the DUP for at least a year and half if not more.

    He also seems to be the main man in the assembly. The DUP assembly team remind me of Micky Marleys roundabout. Most kids (the DUP members) where drawn to the roundabout while others liked to pet the big horse and give it polo mints, while Mickey (Peter Robinson) operated the machine, he still needed a big oul horse (Ian Paisley) to pull it along.

    If the horse or its foal (big or wee Paisley) shit on the road Micky (Peter) was left to clean up after it. But only so much shite a man can take.

    I apoligise in advance to the Marley family if they take any exception to my comparisons of Mickey and his horse to senior members of the DUP.

  • joeCanuck

    I thought it to be a great analogy, ctb.

  • Hogan

    Mervin Storey MP North Antrim.

  • loki

    Mervyn Storey????!!!!! Away and chase yourself. He’s at his limit as an mLA & would be way out of his depth as mP. Plus he’sconsidered to be very pally with one J Allister Esq and may possibly have something to do with leks to said fella

  • The DUP assembly team seem to have distanced themselves quite a bit from Baby Doc this week, to the point where it may be fair to say “They know of him” 🙂

  • Hogan

    I have learned in my short years Pounder that one should never over-estimate the Norn Iron public’s ability to be satisfied to be represented by some-one way below par in comparison to ‘normal’ societies.

    William McCrea QED.

  • Hogan

    Apologies that comment should’ve been directed at loki.

  • pith

    Great to see Junior employ all his subtlety to out-Iris Iris. He’ll be blethering on about makeovers next.

  • joeCanuck

    very funny, Pounder. LOL

  • Butterknife


    What’s the anology between Paisley and Obama? Very good speech form the Democrat hopeful!