Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Peter Robinson laughs off speculation he is planning to retire

First Minister Peter Robinson
First Minister Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson has laughed off predictions that he will retire as First Minister and DUP leader to take a seat in the House of Lords in September.

"I can give you absolute categorical guarantee – you will not catch me in September wearing ermine," he said. Asked if it would happen in December, he quipped "or March?"

A weekend story in the Sunday World was the latest speculation about his future as DUP leader. It is generally thought that Mr Robinson, who is 65, will move on before the next Assembly election in 2016 but this has never been confirmed.

If he did retire he would be in line for a peerage.

New peerages were due to be given out in September, encouraging the speculation.

However, the buzz at Westminster is that the allocation has been delayed until September when Northern Ireland will get up to four new peerages.

One is likely to go to Willie Hay, the Speaker at Stormont. More will be issued around the time of the dissolution of parliament in May next year.

A peer cannot be an MP but can, like Lord Morrow of the DUP, remain a member of a devolved assembly such as Stormont.

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