Emma Little-Pengelly shocked that party leader did not back Cairns over bully claims
DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly told a former party special adviser she was shocked that Peter Robinson did not support him amidst allegations of bullying and aggressive behaviour by Stormont Minister Jonathan Bell.
Correspondence published last night by the RHI inquiry shows the South Belfast MP strongly backing Timothy Cairns, Mr Bell's spad at the Department of Trade, Enterprise and Investment (Deti).
In the correspondence in June 2015, Mr Cairns claimed that DUP chief executive Timothy Johnston - who was then Mr Robinson's spad - was not taking Mr Bell's side in the dispute but the then First Minister was.
Ms Little-Pengelly replied: "I am shocked FM would take his side in any way. But JB must have laid it on think (sic) earlier (and of course he employs the family!!)"
Mr Cairns described how, when he went to his GP for a sick line, she remarked "this is nearly the worst story I've heard that leads to occupational stress".
Ms Little-Pengelly replied: "Oh no, that's awful. He (Jonathan Bell) is a bollix and that is the beginning and end of it.
"He is a bully and he was always going to blow with you (or anyone working as a spad for him) at some point."
The DUP MP advised her colleague to try to relax and "call me any time if you are stressed".
In earlier correspondence, Mr Cairns told Ms Little-Pengelly he would in future report Mr Bell's "every transgression" to Mr Johnston who "wants him (Mr Bell) out".
He continued: "My goal now is that he has one year max and done. If I get a chance I'm going to film him drunk and talking s*** and show it to TJ."
The MP replied: "You should - but he will rip your head off if he catches you."
In correspondence to fellow DUP special adviser, Richard Bullick, Mr Cairns claimed that Mr Bell was engaging in character assassination of his spad.
Mr Bullick replied that the then Deti minister "would lie without hesitation".
He asked Mr Cairns if he gave his doctor "the full story" when he went for his sick line.
Mr Cairns replied: "I didn't give the names but yes and when she said 'where on earth do you work?' I said, 'I don't want to say.'"
In other correspondence, the men speculated about Mr Bell having "gone teetotal".
In previous evidence to the inquiry it was claimed that the former Deti minister threatened to break his spad's finger after one exchange of views. Mr Bell strongly denied the claim.