Robinson Back In Office

Political opponents in the North have urged Peter Robinson to publish the full legal report which prompted his return to the office of First Minister at the Stormont Assembly last night.

DUP leader Mr Robinson stood down as the head of the North's power-sharing administration last month following revelations over his wife Iris' financial dealings.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster assumed Mr Robinson's role for three weeks, while he awaited legal advice on the matter.

Stormont rules allow the First Minister a six week window to relinquish duties without fully resigning. Mr Robinson maintained his stepping down was only temporary.

Yesterday departmental solicitors ruled Mr Robinson had not broken any ministerial regulations after failing to report a £50,000 loan secured by his wife to support her lover's business interests.

Mr Robinson, who has since resigned as a councillor, MLA and MP, is currently under investigation by the police.

An Assembly probe into her dealings with two developers has been suspended until the PSNI completes its inquires.

However, fellow unionists and the SDLP have cast doubt over the scope of legal opinion sought by Mr Robinson.

The First Minister said QC Paul Maguire had carried out a "comprehensive" examination of the issues raised in a BBC Spotlight programme, which broke the story.

Mr Robinson added: "His advice supports my consistent contention that I have acted at all times properly and in full compliance with my public duties."

Executive Minister Margaret Ritchie said there were more questions to be answered.

"I don't think the scope of this inquiry by senior crown counsel was sufficient to address fully public interest issues or answer the questions that are out there," said the nationalist MLA.

Ms Ritchie, who is vying for the SDLP leadership, said she had the utmost respect for Mr Maguire.

A spokesman for the UUP said: "It would clearly be in the public interest for this legal opinion to be published in full."

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister also called for the publication of the full report.

He said said the "precise instructions" on which the advice was based should also be made public.


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