Trimble urges Robinson to step down
Former First Minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly Lord Trimble claimed he had lost his authority following the exposure of his wife Iris’s affair with a teenage lover.
However, DUP Finance Minister Sammy Wilson insisted he still commanded support.
Resignation by Mr Robinson could trigger an early Assembly election, Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward warned. Mrs Robinson is expected to step down within days.
Lord Trimble claimed: “To sit as leader in a party where the party summarily expels his wife without giving her any hint of due process or a soft landing is someone without authority in his own organisation.”
But Mr Wilson disagreed, saying: “As far as I am concerned he has got support, the stories about Iris don’t impugn him,” he said as he went to church in north Belfast, which Mr Robinson also attends.
If he falls, the post of First Minister and Deputy First Minister, held by Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, would have to be filled.
Sinn Fein could delay nominating unless the DUP agreed to a timescale for the devolution of policing and justice from London to Belfast.
If this was not resolved within seven days it would fall to Mr Woodward to call an election.
Mr Robinson has vowed to clear his name after vehemently denying any knowledge of his wife’s irregular financial affairs, which if he did know should have been reported to the parliamentary authorities.