Robinson: Will he stay or will he go?

Following yesterday’s ministerial reshuffle and the axing of Edwin Poots and Nelson McCausland, the DUP appears to be in crisis today following the former Health Minister’s appearance on the Stephen Nolan radio show.

When questioned about Peter Robinson’s long term prospects as party leader Edwin Poots effectively announced the First Minister’s resignation by claiming that “Robinson stepping down is public knowledge.”


Click to listen


However within minutes the First Minister issued a rebuttal to local media and on Twitter denying that he had any intention of stepping down:


Is this the beginning of the end for Peter Robinson and if so who are the leading contenders to replace him?


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  • mickfealty

    Here’s what he says…

    “Neither now, nor before the Assembly election, have I any plans to stand down and the public and media can be confident that when I decide such a moment has arrived I will be the one to make the announcement.

    I repeat the comments I have previously made that I will continue to lead as long as the party and the electorate in East Belfast wish me to do so.”

  • chrisjones2

    “as long as the party and the electorate in East Belfast wish me to do so”

    ….and that is the issue

    Toast rarely realises that its about to be covered in butter / sent to the Lords

  • Clanky

    Obviously Edwin Poots thinks Christianity is about believing in indefensible nonsense like a 6000 year old earth, rather than not stabbing your colleagues in the back because you get a little bit upset about being sacked for being an incompetent fool.

  • Neil

    On Tuesday, the DUP leader announced that East Antrim MLA Alastair Ross would take over from Paul Givan as chairman of Stormont’s Justice Committee.
    The move surprised many people, given the belief of many Stormont observers that Mr Given had generally handled his brief well, and he was seen as a future DUP minister.
    His closeness to Edwin Poots, who was removed as health minister at the same time, has increased speculation that Tuesday’s reshuffle was linked to internal DUP manoeuvring.

    The knives are out, whether they land the fatal blow remains to be seen.

  • chrisjones2

    “being sacked for being an incompetent fool.”

    ………wot? LIke the rest of them?

    When I look at both the DUP and SF I have the feeling that the strategy is to put the foolsl upfront whilke the Party Leader and his cohort of SPADS (better paid than the Ministers) manage things and pull the strings while staying well in cover

  • Clanky

    Apologies if the above post made anyone think that I was in anyway implying that the rest of the NI politicians are not incompetent fools, entirely unintended.

  • Michael Henry

    Robinson stepping down says Poots when he was forced Down- NO big job- NO DUP Loyality-

  • Comrade Stalin

    I don’t think Poots was being sacked for incompetence. The consensus seems to be that relatively speaking, he was doing a pretty good job within the confines he has to work in.

    Ministers in Northern Ireland don’t have to be especially competent. Most of the time they’re rubber stamping decisions that are presented to them on a silver plate by their civil servants. At worst, the civil servants will whittle everything down to two or three big decisions and ask the Minister to choose. The Health Service can run without a minister just fine (remember – it has done for the best part of 40 years).

    Life gets “interesting” when you get people like Nelson who are clearly keen to introduce political and party interests into their role and direct the civil servants accordingly. This isn’t restricted to the DUP – the Shinners do it too (esp. Conor Murphy).

    I’d love to be in a place where ministers actually had minds of their own and directed civil servants rather than the other way around. But we’re not there.

    As others have been speculating this appears to be more to do with Robinson stamping his authority on the party.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Apology entirely accepted. With such a plethora of talent available to us, why does someone (such as Slugger) not institute an award for the most outstanding instance of political ineptness in an Irish politician. That way we might have the double pleasure of weighing the various qualities of sheer incompetence on display across a political year, and should the front runners be DUP, we have the exquisite added delight of describing them as “Irish.”

  • Mister_Joe

    I don’t think that Ministers not having to be particularly competent is confined to N.I. There was just too much truth in “Yes, Minister” which made it such a brilliant satire.

  • Jag

    We haven’t had a binary fission of a unionist party for what? Just over a year?

    Will we now get the Traditional DUP and Reformed DUP, with (God help us!) Poots, McCausland, Paisley junior, Givan and their long grass supporters providing the nucleus for the “reformed” party?

    Despite what Radio Face Nolan claimed this morning, the DUP is no longer the biggest party in NI – in the LE/Euros in May, SF attracted most votes. So “biggest party” moniker, that ship has already sailed.How long can the DUP stave off a split?