Belfast Telegraph

David Gordon: ‘Iris-gate’ will not go away

Unfortunately for Peter Robinson, his return as First Minister is unlikely to bring him closure from the scandal surrounding his wife.

For one thing there is the inevitable political fallout from the fall of Iris.

Team Robinson was a formidable electoral double act in its day and its passing in such circumstances cannot leave him unscathed.

Meanwhile, an Assembly standards inquiry — currently on hold — is likely to take months.

It should involve the former MLA having her say, breaking the silence of the wife.

Should Mr Robinson have made register of interest declarations on her involvement with that property developer money? Should he have at least persuaded her to make belated declarations herself?

Such questions relate to whether the £50,000 was declarable in the first place by Mrs Robinson. That involves determining whether it was in any way connected to her MLA role.

Register of interest issues cannot just be decided on legal analysis. There are judgment calls to be made.

The MLA code of conduct says each member should declare financial matters “which might reasonably be thought by others to influence his or her actions, speeches or votes in the Assembly, or actions taken in his or her capacity as a Member of the Assembly”.

That phrase “reasonably be thought by others” is where the judgment call comes in.

Belfast Telegraph


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