Belfast Telegraph

Ian Paisley the latest high-profile suspension in DUP

Jonathan Bell
Jonathan Bell
Iris Robinson
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

The most recent high-profile suspension from the DUP was that of Jonathan Bell in December 2016.

The former Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister was suspended following outspoken comments about leader Arlene Foster's handling of the RHI scheme. The Strangford MLA's suspension was unanimously agreed and the so-called "cash for ash" scandal led to the collapse of the Stormont Assembly.

Another high-profile casualty was Iris Robinson, who was expelled in January 2010.

The wife of former First Minister Peter Robinson left Westminster and her MLA's position in Stormont over her financial and business dealings with a toy boy lover. The DUP said at the time: "We wanted to show people we were acting decisively. There was no question about it, she had to go and go now."

Newry and Armagh DUP MLA Paul Berry was suspended in July 2005.

Mr Berry attended a disciplinary panel examining a newspaper story on his private life.

He later resigned from the party and is now an independent representative on Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

In May 2015 Lisburn councillor Jenny Palmer resigned before a disciplinary hearing after alleging she was ordered to change the way she intended to vote on terminating a contract with disgraced maintenance firm Red Sky.

Belfast councillor Ruth Patterson was expelled from the DUP in November 2015 after criticising the decision to overlook her for the South Belfast Assembly seat vacated by Jimmy Spratt, and instead appoint former special adviser Emma Little Pengelly.

In February 2016 one of the DUP's highest profile councillors in Derry, Maurice Devenney, was suspended after being accused of canvassing votes for the SDLP outside a polling station. Mr Devenney denied the accusation and said it was a misunderstanding. He had been a councillor in the city for 11 years, but resigned from the party later that month.

In April 2018 the DUP suspended councillor Ian Stevenson, a former mayor of Ballymoney, "pending the outcome of a court case".

The DUP then withdrew the whip from veteran politician Jim Wells in May over stinging criticism of the leadership.

In an explosive interview with the Belfast Telegraph, the South Down MLA accused the party of "hanging him out to dry" over his conservative views and allegedy reneging on a promise to reinstate him as Health Minister.

Former mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Thomas Hogg was also suspended in May after admitting drink-driving.

Belfast Telegraph


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