The DUP was staying tight-lipped last night after revelations that Upper Bann MP David Simpson (59) had left his family home after his wife Elaine accused him of having a affair.
None of the MPs contacted by the Belfast Telegraph responded to our request for comment. Businessman Mr Simpson is currently the party’s Westminster spokesman on environment, food and rural affairs, as well as on business, energy and industrial strategy.
Last night DUP councillors on Armagh, Craigavon and Banbridge council declined to comment, referring all enquiries to the party’s Press office.
The party also declined to issue any statement on the matter.
News of the MP’s departure from his luxury home near Portadown broke in our sister paper Sunday Life yesterday.
It’s believed the MP is now living in a swish bachelor apartment just a few miles away in Markethill.
The couple’s daughter Leah told the paper that her mum had asked her father to leave the family home after accusing him of cheating.
Mrs Simpson is the financial director of Universal Meats, a successful meat processing firm which the couple founded with a close friend in the 1980s.
Last night, no one was responding to the intercom at the iron gates when we called at the Simpson mansion, sited behind tall trees and a brick wall a few yards from the entrance to the meat processing plant.
Confirming the MP’s departure from the family home, Mr Simpson’s daughter Leah told Sunday Life: “My mum’s priority and our priority at the moment is just to get on with our lives.
“She did ask him to leave when she found out — but as I said our foremost priority is to get through the next weeks and months ahead.
“There are children, grandchildren and mum is just trying to keep focused.”
Mr Simpson and his wife of 37 years have three children — Kristy, Steven and Leah, all in their 20s.
Mr Simpson and his wife, Elaine, were only the second couple in Northern Ireland to adopt from abroad. Their eldest daughter, Kristy (29), is from India and twins Steven and Leah (28) are from Paraguay.
“I think we were only the second couple in Northern Ireland to adopt internationally, so it caused a little confusion,” he told the Belfast Telegraph in a 2015 interview. “When we brought Kristy home here, we would be out walking with her and people would look in the buggy, then they would look back at us and then look down at her again with a puzzled look.
“Obviously, then the conversation would start and we would explain what had happened.”
The Simpsons adopted Kristy at 10-months-old from a Christian missionary hospital in India.
Soon after, they travelled to Paraguay in South America, where they adopted two more children.
“It was just coincidence that the twins, Steven and Leah, had been born then, so after going through the courts and the whole adoption process, we brought them home, too,” Mr Simpson said.
The MP — who is a member of the Free Presbyterian Church — has spoken in the past of how important his Christian faith is to him.
He said in a 2014 News Letter interview: “I ask God for wisdom every single morning, for wisdom and for guidance.
“Do I get everything right? No.
“But I have the confidence that he is there to help me through it.
“If somebody was to put the choice to me, and people have said to me, ‘David, would you put your politics before your faith?’ No, I certainly would not.
“I would say that without fear of contradiction, my faith will come first.”
Mr Simpson has been a staunch defender of traditional marriage.
Speaking in the House of Commons against the Marriage (Same Sex Couple) Bill in 2013, the MP said: “This is not in the jurisdiction of this house.
“This is not in the jurisdiction of this Government of any European government or any government in the world.
“This is an ordained constitution of God.
“In the Garden of Eden, it was Adam and Eve — not Adam and Steve.”
Mr Simpson’s first venture to electoral politics was in 2001 when he fought the Westminster election in Upper Bann against UUP leader David Trimble.
In 2001, he was also elected to Craigavon Borough Council, serving until 2010.
In 2004, he was selected to become mayor of the borough.
After a period as a MLA, Mr Simpson won the Upper Bann seat in 2005, and has represented the consituency in Westminster since that date.