Ford: One week on and still no credible statement from Robin Newton

Alliance MLA David Ford has called on Robin Newton to either resign as Assembly Speaker or give a credible explanation for his actions both as Speaker and as an MLA in relation to the allegations made about him by last week’s BBC Spotlight programme.

David Ford MLA said: “One week after the Spotlight broadcast, we have had no credible statement from Mr Newton on either his activities on behalf of Charter NI, or his statement to the Assembly which is alleged to have been misleading.

“One week on, and counting, and we are still no clearer to establishing either the facts to date, or the sanctioned role paramilitaries are allowed to play in our society.

“However, there is more to consider than just Mr Newtown’s link to Charter NI, concerning though that is.

“Yesterday marked nine months since M Newton faced a motion of no confidence in the Assembly. That came about because of the way he was perceived to act as Speaker on behalf of the DUP, and his failure to carry out his duties impartially.

“In any other legislature in these islands, a Speaker who had clearly lost the confidence of the house would have resigned before Christmas. Last week’s revelations merely confirm what he should do without delay.

“Mr Newton may want to remain silent. He may even be hoping that saying he will not be a candidate for Speaker in the future means that this issue disappears, but it won’t.

“Robin Newton still faces many questions. Unless he either gives completely frank and honest answers or resigns immediately, he will continue to damage the integrity of the Assembly while drawing an unjustified salary.”

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