The DUP last night moved to quell growing speculation about Iris Robinson’s whereabouts in the wake of devastating details about her affair with a teenager by confirming she is in the care of psychiatrists.
The Strangford MP, who has not been seen in public since announcing last month that she is to quit all public office, is receiving “acute psychiatric treatment from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust”, according to a statement released by her husband.
Peter Robinson said he wanted to clarify information on her medical condition amid Press speculation about her mental health and whereabouts since news of her affair with a teenager broke.
Earlier yesterday, the DUP issued a separate statement denying reports that the Strangford MP had jetted off to the French Alps for a skiing holiday in the luxury resort of Chamonix.
A party spokesman said: “This is wrong and completely untrue.”
The First Minister has insisted his wife, who revealed a battle with depression last month, is too unwell to speak to him or her solicitor about allegations over financial dealings outlined in a BBC Spotlight programme.
Sensational revelations about the First Minister’s wife began last week when she released a statement saying she had tried to take her own life after admitting to an affair.
Spotlight revealed the mother-of-three’s lover to be a then 19-year-old called Kirk McCambley, whom she took under her wing after the death of his father.
She and her husband have since been plunged into crisis after it emerged that Mrs Robinson had secured £50,000 from two wealthy developers to help her lover set up a cafe business in south Belfast.
Mrs Robinson could pick up £242 for every extra day she clings on to her politician posts.
The triple-jobbing wife of the First Minister announced in late December that she was quitting public life due to severe depression.
But resignations have yet to take effect from the House of Commons, the Stormont Assembly and Castlereagh Council.
It is believed formal departures may finally be confirmed by the end of this week.
The disgraced politician's annual salary from the House of Commons stands at £64,766. A further £14,367 a year is paid out by the Assembly, plus £9,500 from Castlereagh Council. That represents an annual total of £88,633 — working out at £242.8 per day.
Mrs Robinson has been employing two family members out of her MP office-running expenses — son Jonathan as office manager and daughter-in-law Ellen as part-time secretary.
The senior politician was cut adrift by the DUP on Saturday when she was asked to resign her Westminster and Assembly seats. She represents the Strangford constituency in both the House of Commons and Stormont.
It is understood the DUP will appoint a replacement assembly member as soon as possible.