Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Robinson: Wife to resume role soon

Peter Robinson believes it will not be long before his wife Iris is again at his side for public appearances

Peter Robinson believes it will not be long before his wife Iris is again at his side for public appearances.

The DUP leader said she is making steady progress in her battle against mental illness and revealed she was fully engaged with the election campaign that saw him make a triumphant comeback in east Belfast.

"She's improving steadily," he said.

"And I hope it will not be long before she can be beside me, she gives me support from home and I will be delighted when she feels able to take up a role at my side."

The first minister, who thinks the bruising personal experiences of the last two years has made him a better person, smiled as he recounted how his wife has lost little of her enthusiasm for the political game.

"We discussed the campaign," he said. "She was never short on giving me advice on what I should be saying and what I should be doing with it."

Reflecting on what has been the most turbulent period in his life, the 62-year-old cut a very different figure from the one who lost his Westminster seat a year ago. Back then the scandal that consumed his wife looked set to precipitate an early and ignominious end to his own political career.

The comeback narrative is often cliched and easy to slip into, but in Mr Robinson's case the stats are hard to argue with.

His 9,149 first preference votes in Thursday's election represented over 28% of the vote in a constituency fielding 17 candidates. In the 2007 poll, long before the problems in his personal life emerged, he notched 5,635 first preferences - 19%.

"Everybody goes through difficult times in life," he said looking back at 2010. "And their character is shaped not by the problems that they face but how they face the problems."

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