Belfast Telegraph

RHI: Who is former DUP MLA Jonathan Bell

Born in March 1970 Jonathan Bell first came to prominence when he replaced the MLA for Strangford, Iris Robinson.

He has a degree in psychology from Queen's as well as a Masters in social work and worked in the sector up until 2010.

He also served as a councillor.

From 1997 to 2005 he sat on Craigavon Borough Council serving as both mayor and deputy mayor before moving to Ards Borough Council where he served until 2011.

He was also a Commissioner for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission between 2005 and 2010.

In 2010 he was co-opted as Strangford MLA replacing Iris Robinson.

Considered a close ally of the former First Minister and DUP leader Peter Robinson he served as a junior minister in the Office of First and Deputy First Minister.

In May 2015 he was appointed as Minister for the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment replacing Arlene Foster and remained in the post until May 2016.

It was during this time that he ended the lucrative tarries in the RHI scheme before closing it down.

It was Mr Bell's explosive claims against DUP leader Arlene Foster and party advisers in December 2016 which turned up the temperature on the green energy scheme scandal.

Mr Bell was suspended from the DUP in December 2016 after giving a televised interview with BBC journalist Stephen Nolan.

In the Assembly election for 2017 he stood as an independent under the banner "time for the truth" only to fail to retain his seat.

"I have had to do one of the most difficult things in my life; tell the Northern Ireland public the truth and shine a light and deal with a major problem," he said in his extraordinary BBC interview with Stephen Nolan.

"The facts are documents, emails, times and dates. You will not find one single thing that is not the truth. I have done my duty.

"God does not punish people for telling the truth. Let's see how it plays out."

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