Erm, DUP leader rounds on party critics and calls them ‘puffed up lemmings’…

I’ve been pretty quiet on the rumours emanating from the DUP. Mostly because most of it is unattributable. But, whatever went on in the last few weeks, this is not good politics:

DUP leader Peter Robinson has called critics within his party “people with the strategic vision of a lemming”.

Mr Robinson would not be drawn on naming individuals whom he said were “puffed up by their own importance”.

“I have made the comment and unlike some others, I haven’t tried to personalise it to any individual – let people put the cap on and see if it fits them,” he said.

He said the party would deal with those who did not back his leadership.

Now, there’s been speculation for the last few years about the future of Peter Robinson as leader of the DUP. I’ve no doubt there is a lot of pushing and shoving. Clearly Sammy Wilson, Nigel Dodds and Jeffrey Donaldson are on side (this time).

Who’s he talking about? And is the coup that never was, now over? As Brian noted before, Robinson is a tough old bird who survived as Paisley’s Tanist where other lesser beings had failed. His short temper, particularly with the press is legendary.

Ed Poots may well feel wronged (he generally doesn’t drop many clangers, even under extreme pressure), but Robbo made it clear at the beginning of the term that he would rotate ministerial office. Many expected it at about the time Simon Hamilton took over DFP from Sammy Wilson.

Having braved some nasty fire storming in health, perhaps he felt he’d done enough to see it out to the end. This could be jockeying for positions in whatever comes after Robinson, whenever that is.

I would be genuinely surprised to see anything happen just as Stormon heads for a nasty little fiscal crisis. Still, now we know there’s something to keep an eye out for. Even if we’re not quite what, or when.

Tweet of the Day from Newton Emerson…

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  • Michael Henry

    ” The party will deal with those that do not back his leadership “- Says bitter lemon Robinson-

    Whatever he threatens of the future- today Peter Robinson has called himself a Leader of lemmings- he is fruity has his own worst internal DUP critic-

  • Comrade Stalin

    If there was any doubt that Poots had intended to launch some sort of salvo against Robinson, Lord Morrow eliminated it this morning when he repeatedly and pointedly failed to endorse the ongoing leadership of Peter Robinson in a Paxmanesque exchange with Stephen Nolan.

    Then a short time later Robinson confirmed that there were people within the party who opposed his leadership, calling them “lemmings”. After that, there was an odd sequence of orchestrated tweets. While most people appeared to personally endorse Robinson remaining in post, a small minority would only confirm that Robinson had a mandate.

    There is definitely something up when a faction within the party are not even willing to lie about their lack of support for Robinson’s leadership in public. The series of posts by senior party colleagues on Twitter will have acted as a kind of informal leadership “back me or sack me” contest, exposing that most MPs and MLAs seem to be prepared to back Robinson into the next Assembly election.

    Robinson has now threatened action. Bearing in mind that he possesses post-dated resignation letters for all of his MLAs I wonder if we’re about to see blood on the carpet.

  • Gopher

    It’s simples really, a minister gets 80k which is nearly twice what a plain MLA gets and is also more than an MP gets by a considerable margin. Even deputy chairperson of a statutory committee gets 5k more than a bog standard MLA. You have to bear in mind those figures and look at who sits where and who ain’t going to be moving quickly. Basically there are people within the DUP that are in 43k a year cul de sacs and others who will be taking 43k pay cuts when they cant stand at the next assembly election having been declined ministerial posts so their career path is chosen. Its not hard to see the strategic motivation of the “lemmings”. I think Peter see’s it just about right, a lot of people are going to be losing their jobs shortly in the real world and house prices will get another kick in the stones when that happens and the DUP are busy imploding over salaries instead of trying to prevent it, you wont see the slow lingering death of the likes of the SDLP and UUP it will be oblivion

  • Croiteir

    Didn’t Lord Morrow swiftly follow up supporting Robinson?

  • danielsmoran

    Hard to believe after the last six months that Robinson was ever thought of as a safe pair of hands. He’ll get the same treatment as Ian jnr got from PR’s henchmen in order to kick away the scaffolding propping his father. what’s sauce for the goose, and all that.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Morrow started out by refusing to answer the question (about 20 times) as to whether he supported Robinson or not.

    I imagine he received a bad-tempered phonecall a short time later and was told that a statement was going out in his name endorsing Robinson’s continued leadership, and that he better shut up or else.

  • Croiteir

    I think your imagination is running away with itself a the follow up was all but instantaneous