Saturday, 9 January 2010

Last Long Week for Iris in Politics?

News is coming from Northern Ireland that Iris Robinson will be stepping down as MP and MLA within the week.

The effect at this time means that it is so close to the possible dissolution that no formal writ would be moved in time [pdf link] to replace her at Westminster. The convention under the STV elections for the Northern Irish Assembly currently mean that the sitting party will appoint a replacement if they lose a MLA.

A DUP spokesperson has said they will move quickly to replace Mrs Robinson in her Strangford Assembly seat. Adding:

"We wanted to show people we were acting decisively. There was no question about it, she had to go and go now.

"There was absolutely no sympathy for the position she found herself in."

Shaun Woodward the Northern Irish Secretary won't be winning any plain English awards for his intervention into the debate on the First Minister's tenuous position. He said earlier today:

"It is a responsibility on everyone in the assembly to understand that the consequences of allowing the political process to slide would undoubtedly have an impact on the broader canvas.

"And that if anybody were to be selfish enough to think this is a moment when that can be allowed to be put in the deep freeze, even some may wish to unpick, they would be extremely irresponsible, foolish and would be playing very, very dangerous games."

He also echoed calls from East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell who said that Peter Robinson should be given to week to clear his name. Saying:

"I think Peter Robinson has the confidence of his party - that is the position and has been the position.

"But he himself has said that he wants to put his own credibility on the line in the manner in which he has done by setting up this investigation which in some respects is a very brave thing to do.

"Peter himself has asked for a week to resolve those issues, respond to them and refute them.

"I think we should allow him that week and hopefully we then move on in a week's time."

So Iris is to find her retirement from political life coming sooner than she wanted.

But another interesting development is that donations from Peter Robinson's First Ministerial salary to the DUP have not been reported to the Electoral Commission. The Commission has announced they there are looking into the DUP's donations after the First Minister had been been quoted in the Newsletter in June 2009 as saying he was doing so.

The other day Peter Robinson said that there no financial impropriety on his part. Therefore either his party are hiding his contributions, or his lied about giving then to the party, no doubt the Electoral Commission will get to the bottom of yet another issue with donations and the Robinsons.

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