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DUP's use of Petition of Concern to save Speaker Robin Newton 'insulting', says Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein has described the DUP's use of the Petition of Concern to save Stormont Speaker Robin Newton from a vote of no confidence as "insulting".

Sinn Fein tabled the motion over how the DUP MLA handled a recalled Assembly session to debate the  Renewable Heating Incentive before Christmas.

Mr Newton has also been forced to defend himself against conflict of interest accusations in regard to his handling of Assembly exchanges on a controversial charity in his east Belfast constituency.

However, ahead of Monday's Assembly debate, the DUP lodged a Petition of Concern on the matter, effectively vetoing the motion as the result of the vote must attract cross-community support.

Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy described the move as "insulting".

He said: "The RHI scandal and the DUP’s handling of it has been marked by arrogance and contempt for the political institutions and the general public.

“They have tried to absolve DUP members and ministers from any responsibility for this scandal. It has been more about protecting the reputation of ministers not about transparency and accountability.

“Today the DUP have invoked the Petition of Concern to protect the DUP Speaker.

“It is clear that the Speaker has lost the confidence of the majority of MLAs.

“The Petition of Concern was brought in to protect the rights of minorities.

“It is insulting that the DUP are using the Petition of Concern to cover the back of one of their own the Speaker.

“The DUP’s decision to use the POC today to frustrate a debate on the Speaker is final proof, if proof were needed, that the DUP are corrupting the institutions in their own interests and against the wishes of the general public.”

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