On Inside Politics, collapse scenarios loomed ever larger. Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly refused to answer Mark Devenport’s question posed twice – if Robinson resigns will McGuinness be renominated?
SF’s Urgent Question to Robinson tomorrow is clear evidence of breakdown already. If FMDFM was functioning at any level, it would be dealt with between the two leaders privately and a joint statement would follow. Did you imagine for a second that would ever happen?.
Kelly gave credibility to what I’m hearing, that Sinn Fein are preparing to pull the plug anyway. His demand to know what else may come out over the Robinson affair is irrelevant, no more than a flanker to extract marginal advantage and heap more blame the DUP for the crisis.
Is he seriously suggesting SF would withdraw over any further DUP corruption allegations?
When pressed, he came to the real point. ” At the meeting between Martin McGuinness, Pter Robinson and Nigel Dodds, they had no notion of moving towards a date ( for J&P) and we were already in a substantial political crisis.”
Only one thing will give the parties pause – what happens next, and how can they take advantage of it. Unless the perfect storm suddenly subsides, the question for the next ten days or so is this. What will trigger collapse first: the resignation of Martin McGuinness or the toppling of Peter Robinson, followed by the nomination of Nigel Dodds?
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London