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DUP denies Peter Robinson went for House of Lords peerage

By Noel McAdam

Published 02/10/2015

Claims: First Minister Peter Robinson
Claims: First Minister Peter Robinson
Rev William McCrea

Senior DUP sources have firmly denied that Peter Robinson was put forward for a peerage earlier this year.

Officially, the party refused to comment on speculation that the First Minister was blocked from the House of Lords by its Appointment Commission (HoLAC).

The magazine Private Eye asserted that Prime Minister David Cameron could have been seeking DUP support in the event of a hung parliament in signalling the DUP leader could gain a seat in the House of Lords.

But party sources told the Belfast Telegraph: "You can be assured it was not Peter".

The Telegraph understands, however, that the party intends to nominate former South Antrim MP Rev William McCrea for the House of Lords in the next round of peerages.

There had been reports in August that Mr McCrea, who lost his seat to Ulster Unionist Danny Kinahan in May, had been put forward but the DUP denied it.

"I am not even sure that the Lords is somewhere Peter would see himself going to," one source added.

"But he has made clear there are a number of things he wants to do before he would even contemplate standing down."

The HoLAC, whose task includes vetting nominations "to ensure the highest standards of propriety", let it be known that seven peerages were blocked. This was followed by speculation that they were five Conservative MPs, one Liberal Democrat and one DUP.

Private Eye asked: "Was David Cameron preparing for a deal with the DUP when he made the nomination in March - anticipating that he'd have to depend on DUP votes in parliament after failing to win a majority?"

And it reported: "Cameron has form here. Before the 2010 election he negotiated an electoral alliance with the UUP by promising two peerages, though in the end the party was given only one - Sir Reg [Empey] - and the fact it didn't get the other remains the source of some annoyance."

A spokesman for the UUP said yesterday it did not want to make any comment on the issue.

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