Lo: Report finds serious breach of Assembly rules by Iris Robinson

Alliance MLA, Anna Lo, who is Vice-Chair of the Committee for Standards and Privileges, has said it is regrettable that the report into allegations about Peter and Iris Robinson has taken almost five years to see the light of day.

The report investigated claims made in a BBC Spotlight programme in 2010. The Assembly Commissioner for Standards, Mr Douglas Bain, found that Iris Robinson committed a serious breach of the code of conduct over her failure to register her interest in the receipt of two loans to enable the setting up of the Lock Keeper’s Inn business for Kirk McCambley. The report was published on Friday but Ms Lo pointed out that the Committee has made a large number of redactions on the Commissioner’s report, some of which she opposed.

The Commissioner produced a draft report last November which was challenged by Mrs Robinson’s solicitor. Mr Bain withdrew the draft report in February 2014 and produced a second draft report in March which was withdrawn again in May due to objections from Mrs Robinson’s solicitor. Mr Bain sent his third and final report to the committee in July this year and the Committee started its consideration of the Commissioner’s report from September. Earlier delays were caused by a Police investigation and a change in Commissioner.

Anna Lo MLA said: “After the long delay, I am pleased that this report has finally been published. The Assembly Commissioner has found that Iris Robinson committed a serious breach of the Assembly code of conduct. The investigation by the Assembly authorities into the issues raised in the Spotlight programme is therefore justified, although the length of time taken to publish the findings is regrettable.

“This report should have been published years ago. Serious damage has been done to public confidence in the political institutions by the length of time taken to publish this report. Part of the delay was caused by the legal challenges and requests by the Robinsons’ lawyer to remove certain aspects of the report. The Committee was legally obliged to delete parts of the report, some of which I opposed.

“It is important in the interests of openness and transparency that this report was published. However, I do feel that the DUP dominated Committee was at times overly cautious in the deletion of some of the contents. I’m concerned that too much was deleted from the Commissioner’s report and what has been published does not do justice to his original report.”


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