Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

DUP's Arlene Foster backs Peter Robinson

Iris Robinson, pictured with her husband and Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson
Iris Robinson, pictured with her husband and Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson leaves DUP headquarters in east Belfast last night
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Iris and Peter Robinson pictured on their wedding day
Newly elected DUP MP Peter Robinson and his wife Iris. 4/5/1979
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Peter Robinson shares a kiss with wife Iris in the First Minister's office at Stormont
Iris and Peter Robinson
Iris Robinson has said she tried to kill herself after making a midnight confession to her husband that she had an affair
Iris Robinson
First Minister Peter Robinson
Iris Robinson
Parade participants with a cutout of Iris Robinson. The Strangford MP's recent comments regarding homosexuality were a focal point for some marchers
First Minister Peter Robinson (right) and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at a press conference in Stormont Castle
Peter Robinson

Acting First Minister Arlene Foster has claimed departmental solicitors in the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister have indicated Peter Robinson has not broken any rules in the scandal involving his wife Iris.

DUP leader Mr Robinson has temporarily stepped down as First Minister after claims he failed to report his wife for obtaining loans for her toyboy lover.

Parliamentary and Assembly inquiries into the allegations are to take place at Mr Robinson's request.

Ahead of the official investigations, Mrs Foster said: "The departmental solicitors' office has already considered the allegations made in the Spotlight programme and has advised Peter Robinson that he was not in breach of the ministerial code, the pledge of office, the ministerial code of conduct of the seven principles of public life, so I think it's important to say that."

She said she was also sure the senior lawyers commissioned to investigate Mr Robinson's actions would find no evidence of wrongdoing.

"I am personally confident, my party is very confident, that this will confirm that Peter Robinson, the First Minister, acted entirely properly at all times, but let's have this (investigation) and let's have it quickly."

Political opponents questioned how he could juggle the tasks of clearing his name, caring for his family and negotiating with Sinn Fein.

The British and Irish Governments are concerned at the wider political significance of the affair, with fears that a weakened DUP may be unlikely to agree to republican demands for agreement on the transfer of policing and justice powers to the Assembly.

Republicans are keen to see progress on devolving policing and justice powers from London to Belfast as their price for remaining in government.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has sought answers on whether Assembly rules were breached after Mr Robinson failed to report his wife to the parliamentary authorities for obtaining the loans.

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