Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

‘No plans’ to appoint successor for Mike Nesbitt

There are no immediate plans to appoint another Victims' Commissioner to replace UUP election candidate Mike Nesbitt, Martin McGuinness has said.

The former UTV anchor left the £65,000-a-year post last month in a bid to win the Strangford seat vacated by the disgraced Iris Robinson.

The Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister said the Government would take time to consider whether there was a need to find a new commissioner to fill the post left by the 52-year-old.

He said he and First Minister Peter Robinson would consult with the three remaining commissioners — Patricia MacBride, Bertha McDougall and Brendan McAllister — before a decision.

“From the beginning four individuals were identified as having the skills and knowledge base in 2008 to address a backlog of work within the victims and survivors' sector,” he told MLAs after an assembly question from Alliance Member Trevor Lunn.

“So we will give the matter of the number of commissioners careful consideration in light of the work required within their corporate and business plan and we will consider the views of the existing commissioners but it's too early to come to any conclusions at this time.

“We will consider all options but we will not be appointing a new commissioner at this time.”

Mr Nesbitt, best known for his time hosting UTV's evening news alongside wife Lynda Bryans, is standing on the UUP/Tory Party ticket.

UTV has decided that his wife should not host the news during the election campaign.

Mr Nesbitt will be attempting to overturn a 13,000-plus majority secured by the DUP in 2005 when Mrs Robinson retained the seat she first won in 2001.

The wife of the First Minister resigned as an MP in January and left the party after revelations about her affair with a 19-year-old toyboy.

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