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Ex-Rangers owner Whyte claims DUP offered him peerage for £250k

Craig Whyte

The DUP has blasted a former owner of Rangers Football Club as "desperate" for publicity after claiming that the party had offered him a peerage in return for a £250,000 donation.

Craig Whyte makes the claim in his forthcoming autobiography Into The Bear Pit, where he alleges "senior members of the DUP" made the offer.

But a DUP spokesperson said yesterday: "This is absolute nonsense and a desperate attempt to help sell a book. Mr Whyte should name and shame if he's so confident of his facts."

In 2011 the Scottish businessman bought the club from Sir David Murray for just £1.

He sold his interest less than a year later for £2 before the club went into administration, and then liquidation.

During his brief time at the Ibrox club he claimed the DUP were among those after his patronage.

"It was fascinating to see how people of differing political persuasions had a common cause in their love for Rangers," he wrote.

"The political reach of the club amazed me. And as a door-opener being the owner of a significant football club couldn't be beat.

"For example, one of my colleagues at Merchant House, who was involved with the Conservative Party and Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, said to me: 'You're not going to believe this. I've got a great deal for you. I have been talking to senior people in the DUP and they want to offer you a peerage so you can sit in the House of Lords for them, if you donate £250,000 and hold some functions for them in Northern Ireland'."

Mr Whyte said he had met "other DUP people" at Ibrox when supporters from here travelled over for games.

"The offer was on the table and if I had pressed the button it would have happened, but it wasn't something that interested me," he stated.

"When I look at the influence the DUP now have at Westminster, I think it's funny when you know the type of deals they've tried to make in the past."

Mr Whyte also claims that Rangers "cheated for years under David Murray" over their use of the EBT tax scheme to pay players.

He added that there was a failed effort to rewrite The Billy Boys song to remove sectarian lyrics for supporters to avoid Uefa sanctions.

Belfast Telegraph