Belfast Telegraph

RHI scandal: 'Don't bring God into DUP party dispute,' says Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson says he would not have brought God into a dispute the way his party colleague Jonathan Bell has done with DUP leader Arlene Foster in his Stephen Nolan interview over the botched Renewable Heating Incentive.

The East Antrim MP was speaking on the Stephen Nolan Radio Ulster show after an astonishing war of words erupted between the party colleagues who were once close friends.

More: First Minister Arlene Foster blocked attempts to shut down scheme that could cost taxpayer £400m, claims DUP's Jonathan Bell

Asked what his message would be to Strangford MLA Bell, Mr Wilson said: "First of all I wouldn't have invoked God in any dispute that I had with another person in the party.

"Second it is quite clear from evidence available that you had opportunity to fix this scheme in June [2015]. The proposals were before you in July, you didn't take action until Septmeber and you haven't given an explanation for that.

"So just hold your hands up, say you made a mistake and that you should of done this and take the consequences - stop trying to move blame onto somebody else

"And stop demeaning yourself. you were appointed as minister, you had authority of minister and you let yourself be pushed around by paid party members?"

<< Listen to Mrs Foster's full interview >>

Mr Wilson said he had confidence in his party leader, First Minister Arlene Foster.

"And I'll tell you why," he continued.

"She tried to get a grip on the issue once the problem became known to her. She sought to push the thing through the Assembly to get it closed down even in face - and this is important - of opposition from [Alliance], from the Ulster Unionists, from the TUV, the SDLP, the Green Party.

"When she recognised there was a problem and even when she was criticised for not having the sufficient green credentials by closing the scheme down and she was still prepared to do it - even though she was the minister that initiated the scheme.

"That to me shows leadership and that to me is the person we want leading the country."

More: Jonathan Bell interview in full - transcript from BBC Nolan Show on RHI scandal

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