Brimstone evasive in face of DSD questions re Red Sky and Palmer

UPDATED – Now with video

DUP SPAD Stephen Brimstone had a stock answer (“I’m not prepared to answer questions in relation to internal party matters) for most questions put to him by the DSD Committee Hearing today in light of allegations made in BBCNI’s Spotlight programme into Red Sky, Nelson Mc Causland and Cllr Jenny Palmer.

Jim Allister

Jim Allister

Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson







Ably put on the hook by the TUV’s Jim Allister, Brimstone looked more than evasive as he paused for thought at times, cheeks reddening and fidgeting with pieces of paper as he regularly adressed the Chair, Alex Maskey, and informed the committee he wouldn’t be answering questions relating to the disputed content of a phonecall which Palmer has previously given evidence on, where she alleges she was instructed to vote in a certain manner in relation to a Housing Executive Contract.  Brimstone has previously denied the contents of the phonecall.

Despite the efforts of the DUP’s Sammy Wilson and Gregory Campbell to complain about the manner of questioning, Maskey largely held court and calmed proceedings down, while Allister accused the DUP MLAs of trying to use time to deflect from questioning.

Salient points of the day include.

1.  A dispute over whether Brimstone “instructed” a senior civil servant in the housing division, Michael Sands in an email over the proposed length of contract with Red Sky.

2.  The Palmer phonecall conversation.  Brimstone could not recall whether he was on his own when the phonecall to Palmer was made, or indeed when where how, or if he briefed Nelson Mc Causland, or indeed whether he was instructed to call her.

3. A refusal to be drawn on 5 drafts of an alleged apology to Jenny Palmer, citing “I’m not prepared to answer etc…”

4.  Asked by Dolores Kelly MLA, if the DUP had told Mr Brimstone to say “no comment” to questions about the DUP, Brimstone replied “I cant comment…”

5. Asked what part about the BBCNI Spotlight programme he disputed, Brimstone struggled to give an answer, and when pushed, confirmed that he had taken no legal action against the programme makers, despite previously stating he would do so.

Jim Allister was the star of today’s events, leaving Brimstone looking foolish as he told him “You take great refuge in not being able to recall things.”

You can now watch a condensed version of proceedings:

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  • chrisjones2

    How much are we paying this man? And note that WE pay him not the DUPs

    A shambling shaming performance .

    And poor Jim Allister. How dare he ask the DUP impertinent questions

  • barnshee

    Time for Spads to be funded by the appropriate party( loved the embarrassment tho)

  • Sergiogiorgio

    This is all viewed as a bit of political jappery, but these eedjits are sitting on our coin and they can’t force the slippery little sh1t into telling the truth. How many of these enquiries do we need to fund to realise that they achieve nothing as the participants cannot be held in “contempt” if they refuse to answer. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows what has taken place (in the general sense) but obfuscation means no realistic action can or will be taken. Unless we can require these scumbags to answer this is an utter waste of public money.
    Funny to watch him squirm but ultimately the joke is on us, the taxpayers.

  • George Jenkins

    Allister. 1 – 0 Wilson. Sammy’s blind support of this feeble spad is causing him votes.

  • sk

    Is there anywhere online to view this? I’m not an Allister fan but I’d imagine he was in his element today, I’d love to see it

  • notimetoshine

    Maybe its time that people who refuse to answer questions in committees like this be held in contempt with civilcriminal penalities. This whole thing stinks to high heaven and I hope that political terrier Jim keeps nipping at their heels.

  • carl marks

    what i think is the funniest bit is the DUP will gives lectures on morality at the drop of a hat but they only seem to apply to others.

  • Dan

    Why Wasn’t Wilson sanctioned for the abusive language hurled toward Allister in the last meeting…..

  • The Firemen

    Just added the video to the blog. Enjoy!

  • sk

    much obliged!

  • willieric

    Very good question. He was slightly more subdued this time in tandem with fellow agitator Campbell. By the way George obviously ment ” costing him votes”. Maskey and Allister are well in front. Brimstone is a very poor advert for the DUP.

  • Roy Reilly-Robertson

    An awful insight into the way the DUP works and an indication of how unfit for purpose in Government they are as a party. Brimstone is the least credible witness I have ever seen and the stock in trade party line essentially of ‘ I cannot answer because it relates to internal party matters or I cannot recall…’ are the way that the guilty attempt to evade.
    The interventions of Wilson and Campbell were simply to waste time and give breathing space to the protected SPAD, and by God he needed it.
    What is really concerning is that Stormont has the same attitudes on both sides DUP/SF and it all just adds to the frustration and repugnance that the majority have towards politics in NI.
    And the majority have the word here as the majority don’t vote or involve themselves in any way in politics.
    Welcome to Stormont – The Dead Zone for ideas and ambition for the public good.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    It is no more likely that the DUP will lose votes over this than Gerry Adams will lose votes over the murder of Jean McConville.

  • chrisjones2

  • David Crookes

    Three sad facts emerge from the video (for which many thanks to The Firemen!).
    The fact that the gentleman being questioned is paid to give special advice.
    The fact that Mr Wilson is a senior local politician.
    The fact that Mr Campbell is a senior local politician.
    No one could accuse Mr Allister of bullying Mr Brimstone.
    Mr Maskey behaved with great dignity.
    If the electorate wasn’t so unimaginably stupid, this piece of film would do the DUP serious electoral damage.
    Do you recall the slogan of the Old ‘Protestant Telegraph’?
    The Truth Shall Set You Free.
    Truth? Haw squared.
    Vote for Yogic Flyers before you vote for this lot.

  • carl marks

    the sad thing is that,Campbell,Wilson and McCausland will get reelected, who said “lions led by Donkey’s”?
    Jim Allister is not my favourite person but you got to admit he knows how to ask questions, it,s a pity Brimstone doesn’t know how to answer them.

  • David Crookes

    One thing occurs to me in connection with The Firemen’s provision of a link to the video. (I’m sorry if my next sentence offends do-gooders, utopians, passionate ideologues, and perpetual senior prefects.)
    The sheer ENTERTAINMENT value of Slugger is enormously enhanced by the addition of video links. I’m not smart enough to add links to my own postings, but I always feel grateful to those who are. Half an hour of good footage can turn a sad insomniac’s lonely supper-time into a real feast. So keep it up, please.

  • Turgon

    Purely on a point of information (and I enjoyed Jim’s performance immensly tempered only by envy that I did not do law as some of my teachers recommended – I would never have been good enough).

    I think Brimstone is from a religious Fermanagh family (my wife knows of Fermanagh Brimstones and his accent seemed Fermanagh to me). Some evangelical Protestants (myself included) are slightly uncomfortable about taking an oath: it comes from Matthew 5: 34-36 which some take to mean you should not take an oath.
    Sorry in no way is that to distract from the amusement value of the piece nor Brimstone’s quite unacceptable behaviour.
    I am surprised the DUP have not sacked him as his credibility seems utterly destroyed and keeping him is doing them political damage. People think it will have no effect but it may have a little and may bring back the impression from a few years ago that they are involved in pretty shady practices.

  • Morpheus

    A few years ago??? LOL

  • carl marks

    watching the video I was reminded of the famous quote ” would you buy a used car of this man” or should that be men?

  • chrisjones2

    I assume his role os to make the politicians look good

  • carl marks

    Yes but i think he has got it wrong, it’s the politicians in the party that employs him he is supposed to be making look good, not politicians in other parties!

  • carl marks

    “The impression” ??? LOL

  • David Crookes

    Cracker, carl.

  • Morpheus

    It’s a pity The Sammy and Gwardo Show took place because the bottom lip was going, a few more minutes and I think he would’ve cried. Not so nice on the receiving end eh Mr Brimstone?

  • Tochais Siorai

    A religious family background in Fermanagh?
    Any relation to Farren?

  • Chingford Man

    Campbell and Wilson: pathetic

    Brimstone: dreadful

    Maskey: effective

    Allister: superb

  • LordSummerisle

    Actually even Covenanters would agree that provided the oath was administered by an lawful magistrate then yes it is accepatable…. and they are hardcore.

  • Tony

    We’re paying him between £60k and £90k. However he is a very religious man who ahem would never lie under oath. Lets just say he won’t be going to heaven anymore. His behaviour and his morals are disgraceful.