Iris is sacked by the DUP as Castlereagh initiates investigation…

She is also to step down as MLA and MP… There is still the unanswered question as to what is to happen at Castlereagh Borough Council… He cross party colleagues have initiated an inquiry to the whole affair… Interesting to note that Mrs Robinson’s ill judged business dealings appear to date from after Peter Robinson resigned his council seat to take on Ministerial duties… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the …

Read more…

Insider opinion in the DUP swinging against Robinson….

Radio Four noted a source close to Ian Paisley Junior believes Peter Robinson’s position looks increasingly untenable… So far as we can tell, that’s not just schardenfreude, it’s fairly reflective of the general feeling inside the party… In fact, it is our understanding that after last nights meeting, the only people who are giving him a clear message that he can survive are his closest political advisors… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the …

Read more…

To save the Assembly, we’ve got to reform it – starting now

At the heart of the hurricane, people may be too excited to pay much attention to the wider political crisis lurking just round the corner. But people would be wrong. Collapse could be upon us as soon as next week, as Gerry Moriarity reminds us in the Irish Times: What all the political protagonists must also consider are the implications if Robinson walks away or is forced to leave office, and they are serious. If Robinson stands down, then there …

Read more…

What’s the answer to Jim Allister’s point?

Mick quotes Jim Allister QC saying “Obtaining counsel’s opinion comes no where close to “independent investigation”, yet, strangely, no media correspondent seems to have challenged this audacious claim.” Well, Slugger did and laid out an alternative approach which could produce an interim result quite quickly. Whether that could be quick enough to settle the perfect storm now raging is a different question. Focusing on Peter Robinson’s direct involvement in the money issue, Eamonn’s interview underlines the question – why didn’t …

Read more…

Full Spotlight on YouTube ..

For those of you who have not seenthe programme yet and are outside the UK… Here it is in three parts…Part 2: Part 3: Mick FealtyMick 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

Robinson interview: Some tough questions and tough answers…

Yesterday I had an extensive interview with the First Minister. Despite the brutality of my line of questioning at times to Peter Robinson when the interview on tape and camera ended he and I had a mature adult and balanced conversation with no one else in the room in another area of his headquarters. I had hurt him in the course of one of my Slugger reports. He was generous and forgiving in accepting that I had erred and corrected …

Read more…

Gregory Campbell: Peter has a week to clear his name…

ACCORDING to Gregory Campbell on Stephen Nolan’s Radio 5 Live show, Peter Robinson has a week to clear his name. Campbell, who didn’t actually attend tonight’s meeting of DUP officers, refused to give his unequivocal backing to Robinson, adding that the DUP leader’s neck was on the line. Meanwhile, names are being mentioned about who might take over if Robinson resigns. Deputy Dodds appears uninterested, which leaves figures like Arlene Foster and Sammy Wilson in the frame, although whether an …

Read more…

Our first home-grown political scandal…

My extended thoughts on the bigger picture implications of this story… Not simply for Robinson, but for the whole settlement… Sinn Fein clearly view this relationship as their second failed arrangement with Unionists at Stormont… Back to the drawing board… Maybe, but whatever comes out of this mess has to be decided by politicians and not social scientists… The so-called Good Friday Agreement seems to have delivered us into a particularly nasty form of the Belgian disease (ie, only with …

Read more…

And yet there is still compassion (in some parts)…

Given the proximity of the pretty toxic case of Liam Adams, I am not sure Iain Dale’s reference to pedophilia was the most appropriate description of the relationship in question… Even if he has legitimate anger over Iris Robinson’s famously intemperate outbursts… Cranmer, however, has a more compassionate response. And he hits the nail on the head regarding precisely why we may be moving inexorably into a post Robinson era: …‘perceived’ is the important word, for this is politics in …

Read more…

Empey: “We are moving steadily towards a post Robinson era…”

Reg Empey is the first political leader to come out with a combative statement on the future position of Peter Robinson… Below the fold…From Reg Empey “In her statements of last week and this Wednesday Iris Robinson made absolutely no mention of her ‘inappropriate relationship’ in respect of the borrowing of money to finance Kirk McCambley’s business at the Lough Keeper’s Inn. “In his interview and statement on Wednesday, Peter Robinson made no mention of some of the financial matters …

Read more…

That officers meeting still going on….

Our understanding is that the following MLAs are still in the crisis meeting over ‘the Robinson Affair’… Stephen Moutray, David Simpson, Willie McCrea, Jonthan Craig, Ian Paisley Senior, Arlene Foster, Sammy Wilson, Nigel Dodds, Edwin Poots and Duncan Morrow. There may be others, but that’s what we know about… There’s likely to be a fair mix of opinion in there… They’ll need to come to some fairly robust conclusions… I doubt the devolution of Policing and Justice is taking a …

Read more…

Mr Robinson’s QC is not good enough

So the First Minister is defying his critics and demanding a speedy resolution of the crisis swirling around his head. In doing so, he is attempting to keep as much control as he can over events. But what he’s actually agreeing to do in response to the investigation is far from clear. Is he implying that he might resign or withdraw if a QC’s investigation he himself has asked for finds he broke the law or the parliamentary rules by …

Read more…

“not only do I believe that but I’m putting it to the test.”

As Mick has said, and this UTV report reiterates, Peter Robinson has “asked officials in the OFMDFM to look at the allegations and indicate whether the First Minister should have been responsible for disclosing the information to the Assembly or Westminster.” Although, I’m not entirely convinced that the departmental solicitor’s opinion will be a sufficiently independent response to what the Guardian’s Michael White identifies as the political problem – “the political problem is transparency and accountability in a world which …

Read more…

Robinson: I am fighting to clear my name…

On Radio Ulster just now… Peter Robinson gave a brief but tough interview with Mark Devenport… several things came out it… Martin McGuinness, without reference to his ‘joint’ First Minister, asked the departmental solicitor for advice on the consequences of what would happen were Robinson found in breach of his ministerial oath… (understandable of course, but finger slipping a little too quickly onto the trigger for public decency’s sake perhaps…) Robinson is asking the same office to investigate the BBC’s …

Read more…

When does Iris actually resign?

Jim Allister made an important point on the Nolan Show this morning that Peter Robinson can ‘resign’ his wife automatically since in 2007 he insisted all his MLAs sign resignation letters in advance so that if they went off piste he could remotely pull the trigger… Allister was obviously trying to pile the pressure on Robinson, but it does actually put the timing of his wife’s departure back in the hands of the First Minister…. For the record, Mrs Robinson …

Read more…

Summing up the morning – waiting for Peter

By lunchtime, doubts from across the political spectrum that Peter Robinson could survive hadn’t hardened into clear calls for him to quit. Quite a lot depends on whether he can find a temporary platform to stand on this afternoon when the talks with his lawyers are over. While he insists he will contest “unsupported “ allegations in Spotlight, he would be well advised in his own interest to withdraw any threat to sue the BBC. Politicians who sue in such …

Read more…

Rumour Mill: dFM asks for Departmental Solicitor’s opinion?

There are rumours that McGuinness has called for the departmental solicitor to look at whether last night’s story entails a breach of the code… and the Ard Comhairle meeting for tomorrow has, we are told, been postponed, because of the weather… .. Mick FealtyMick 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: …

Read more…

Cui bono?

Just a mental exercise to get my head around the figures (my head is spinning, I don’t know about yours)… Money wise there is 50k involved… Iris Robinson organises two cheques of 25k from the two developers, made out to McCambley for the business… She’s carrier of the cheques, but at this stage she does not touch the money… Then when the arrangement goes bad, McCambley pays back two cheques of £20k to Ken Campbell and “the estate of the …

Read more…

Poots drops the first DUP ball of the morning…

At 7.52 this morning, Ed Poots, unprompted by the interviewer, suggested that Robinson’s difficulty was not comparable with covering up child abuse… Of course, on one level he is dead right… But the comparison was foolish coming as part of a defence… It suggests the party was not prepared for the emotional impact of the programme… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and …

Read more…