Well, as we know from Eamonn, for a man who is supposed to be taking time out from politics, Peter Robinson has been a very busy man. Arlene’s job as front man seems to have left him free to be doing everything, but facing the media, it seems… When he gets back, David Gordon has some questions for him… No doubt they can wait until the First Minister comes back to full public life:
1: How was Iris Robinson able to obtain £50,000 funding in 2008 from two property developers builder Ken Campbell and the now deceased tycoon Fred Fraser for her teenage lover Kirk McCambley’s cafe?
2: Should Mrs Robinson have been lobbying in this same period in support of Newtownards house-building plans involving Mr Campbell?
3: Should Mrs Robinson have listed the £50,000 funding in the Assembly and House of Commons register of interests?
4: Did Peter Robinson take the correct action on learning of the money his wife obtained? He has insisted that he acted entirely properly. He said last week there is nothing that says a Member of Parliament should not attempt to assist someone to set up business. Why then was Fred Fraser’s money paid back, given that it was provided as a gift?
5: Why did Mrs Robinson not make belated declarations of the £50,000 after her husband learned about it?
6: Should Mr Robinson have included his wife’s procurement of the money in his own register of interest declarations? Rules on standards say MLAs should declare a gift or other material benefit received by their spouses that in any way relates to membership of the Assembly.
7: Why has Mrs Robinson been so swiftly disowned by the DUP? Mrs Robinson has not had the opportunity to respond publicly to the BBC Spotlight allegations. So why has she reportedly been expelled by the DUP? It presumably cannot be for adultery, not least because the party leader learned about that almost a year ago and has forgiven her.
8: Did Mrs Robinson lobby in support of any further planning applications from Mr Campbell or Mr Fraser?
9: Did Mr Fraser make any donations to the DUP? The party has failed to answer repeated questions from the Belfast Telegraph on this point. Mr Campbell has confirmed making a single donation of £4,000-£5,000 to the DUP. Mr Robinson last week said he had not personally received a penny from any developer.
10: For how many years were the Robinsons friends with Fred Fraser? Mr Robinson told the Sunday Times: I have never tried to conceal the fact these were not simply developers; they are friends. I have known them for a long period of time.
11: Should Mrs Robinson have declared an interest at the Castlereagh Council meeting which approved the lease for her young lover’s cafe, the Lock Keeper’s Inn?
12: Why did Castlereagh Council give the cafe seven months free rent and provide kitchen equipment worth almost £6,500?
13: Was this subsidy from the council made available to all potential bidders for the cafe lease?
14: Will Mr Robinson be able to return to full First Minister duties with Standards Committee investigations at the Assembly and Commons still hanging over him?
15: Will the Standards Committee investigations include interviews with individuals involved in the cafe funding business saga?
16: Is Mr McCambley going to repay the money Ken Campbell says he is still owed? Mr Campbell said last week the £25,000 he provided via Mrs Robinson was an interest-free loan and £5,000 is still outstanding.
17: Who is conducting the review for Mr Robinson’s department, OFMDFM, on whether he should have reported his wife’s alleged non-declarations to the authorities? This review is looking at his obligations under Stormont’s Ministerial Code. The Standards Committee inquiries will be based on the separate Codes of Conduct for MLAs and MPs.
18: What was the trust arrangement in place that saw the Newtownards office purchase by the Robinsons listed in Land Registry with the phrase in consideration of the sum of one pound? Mr Campbell has said the Robinsons paid full price and that the £1 reference reflected the conclusion of a trust arrangement in place at that time.
19: Should Mr and Mrs Robinson have been involved in a property deal last year with developer Adam Armstrong, given her past lobbying for his Castlebawn development plans in Newtownards? In April 2009 the MP couple sold the office they had bought from Mr Campbell two years earlier to Mr Armstrong and a group of associates.
20: When did Mrs Robinson finally decide to quit politics? Mr Robinson said he told his wife she could not stand for election again after learning last March of her affair.
Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/the-20-searching-questions-14639504.html#ixzz0d9hPn3yj
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty