Jenny Palmer: Betrayed by the DUP

Yesterday was not a good day for the DUP.

First was the verdict on the Ashers ‘gay cake’ case – an issue that seems to have become inextricably linked to the DUP thanks to the support from figures within the party.

Paul Givan appeared on television shortly afterwards to give his ‘verdict‘ on the actual verdict. Mr. Givan also committed to pursue his doomed conscience clause.

Then came last night’s compelling BBC NI Spotlight programme on Jenny Palmer; the ‘whistleblower’ who initially blew the lid on the whole ‘Red Sky‘ scandal.

The programme is available to watch on the BBC iplayer here but is also available to readers outside the UK on You Tube:

This was damning stuff.

The real villain of the piece was portrayed as DUP ‘Special Advisor’ (or SPAD) Stephen Brimstone who memorably gave evidence to a DSD Committee back in January:

A report carried out by civil servants recommended a formal disciplinary investigation into Mr Brimstone’s behaviour.

Instead it was revealed last week that the adviser had been promoted to work with Peter Robinson – replacing new Member of Parliament Gavin Robinson.

This news came hot on the heels of news that Stormont spends more on ‘SPADs‘ than the devolved Assemblies of Scotland and Wales combined.

Peter Robinson’s three top advisers earn almost £92,000 per year.

Nice work if you can get it.

So will this latest scandal harm the DUP?

Probably not.

Last month’s Jim Wells furore did little damage at the ballot box.

However the continued side-lining of Sammy Wilson, Edwin Poots, Gregory Campbell and the aforementioned Paul Givan, in tandem with the promotion of more ‘liberal’ figures (in DUP terms) such as Simon Hamilton and Arlene Foster tells a different story.

Are the DUP capable of  progression?

Time will tell.




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  • Trevor Kirkwood

    the people of lisburn will give the back stabbers their answer next year

  • Granni Trixie

    The DUP appear to have the same Teflon qualities as SF so get away with – ahem- misdemeanours – which would floor other parties. Present DUP troubles however increases the difficulty of broadening their voter appeal with the likes of nice Arlene and Simon.

    That said, not sure what to make of the vitriol reserved by even DUP voters in EB for PR.

  • chrisjones2

    Ah but who do YOU see the backstabbers as?

  • Trevor Kirkwood

    those who told me they were supporting her privately yet when push came to shove their silence publicly said it all

  • submariner

    So will this latest scandal harm the DUP?

    Absolutley not. Unionist voters will turn out in their droves next year to vote for them in order to keep themuns out that is all that matters

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Sad, but true Sub, although I applaud Trevor’s comments above. Maybe the good folk of Lisburn will remember.

  • kalista63
  • Zig70

    Are we getting distracted from the fact that the dup may be complicit in fraud in 27 land deals by the spad issue? Wasn’t he just doing his job? NI politicians seem to be experts in distraction.

  • Korhomme

    Again, this shows how the executive and ministers cannot properly be held to account. The absence of an opposition may have been a price for ‘power sharing’, but it seems to be an expensive price.

    I wonder, if the attitudes of the DUP were all replicated in one person, what old Sigmund would say. Might he think the person had a major problem with sexual repression? Might he think that the person showed marked features of insecurity, as exhibited in the need for ‘control’ and in the need for ostentatious demonstration?

  • Trevor Greene

    I do hope Jenny will stand again for public office. I met her often through my work and I found her to be a person of the highest integrity and without any ambition for high office. Therefore she had nothing to gain by her actions on the NIHE Board nor by fabricating her recollection of the conversations with Brimstone. Everyone except the DUP seems to believe her……

  • willieric

    Spotlight did a superb job in shredding the credibility of the DUP by pointing up their bullying tactics. The behaviour of the DUP big beasts during the committee meetings was disgraceful and would not be tolerated in any playground. Their antics made it obvious that the committee has no teeth inside or outside the room.
    I watched the events as they happened, and felt that Alister and Maskey were extremely calm and organised, and am grateful to Spotlight for showing the event to a much much larger audience. Poots’ reputation has been tainted by the content of his text to Mrs Palmer, while Wilson and Campbell have cost their party votes by the shed-load by their rudeness and abuse.
    As for Mr Brimstone, his name may even enter political folklore as a brand of Ulster filibusterer of the very worst type.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Brimstone got his 30 pieces of silver….may he sleep well tonight along with his master…..

  • Heather Richardson

    Wasn’t someone claiming on Slugger the other day that politicians who were Orangemen were more trustworthy than non-Orangemen?

    Not sure I’d trust any of that shower to go to the shops for me…

  • Cue Bono

    Yes and your community will turn out in droves to vote for people who support mass murder.

  • Sharon Robinson

    Jenny Palmer is in the Orange and Sammy Wilson is not.

  • Heather Richardson

    What about Nelson and Edwin?

  • Sharon Robinson


  • The Firemen

    Sadly that’s probably true. *sob* – question is: what are the rest of us going to do about it?

  • The Firemen


  • The Firemen

    Two very good points. The ‘teflon qualities’ unfortunately reflect the ‘themmuns’ politics that permeates Northern Ireland Politics. This is turn puts of people opposed to such nonsense because they think what’s the point – the usual crowd always get in. As for PR… so much, so much 🙂

  • The Firemen

    Distraction in Northern Ireland politics is nothing new. Would love to hear more about this. Can you email or DM on Twitter please?

  • The Firemen

    Thanks for this. Watching right now.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I believe Nelson is in the OI, not sure about Poots.

  • Dan

    So, do you want it changed….do you want normal governement and opposition politics?

  • Korhomme

    Dan, there are some governments which work on a properly consensual basis without, as far as I know, an official opposition as we know it; but this seems an unusual structure.

    It’s hard to see how government and opposition would work here. It didn’t work in the old Stormont days. Today, were this to be tried, the DUP and allies might well have a permanent majority, with SF and allies in a permanent minority. These two blocs aren’t like Tory/Labour, where floating voters can and do change sides; I very much doubt if there is much movement between DUP and SF. And that is the nub of the problem; without the ability to change from one ‘side’ to another, ‘normal’ government is impossible. But it’s clear that the Assembly needs improvement, in terms of more consensual working and in accountability. Only a few MLAs outwith the major parties can attempt this, and their voices seem to be drowned out.

  • Dan

    So, much as you don’t like it, do you prefer the status quo to remain?
    I’d prefer a ‘hard to see but give government/opposition a try’ as opposed to the bollocks we currently have where the DUP/Sf carve up gives us permanent shambles (unless it collapses, hopefully, next week).

  • Korhomme

    I don’t like the present set-up because it’s dysfunctional—or perhaps it’s the parties and their members who are dysfunctional.

    I can’t see how government/opposition as we understand it would work—I don’t want a hegemony.

    Direct Rule isn’t great either. in part because SF won’t play any obvious, useful role.

    I can sort of imagine a ‘musical chairs’ arrangement whereby the two main blocs rotate through government and opposition every so often—6-monthly or yearly. But then they might just repeal the other’s legislation.

    A system that leads us all to real progress? I simply don’t know what that might be.

  • Thomas Girvan

    Yes, just the same way that the Iris Robinson scandal had no effect upon the East Belfast election!

  • Trevor Kirkwood
  • Trevor Kirkwood

    i think she may stand and get a seat of one of her backstabbers

  • Trevor Kirkwood