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DUP denies Private Eye claim over Robinson 'peerage'

The DUP has rubbished reports that a proposed peerage for leader Peter Robinson was vetoed by a Westminster watchdog. Picture by Mal McCann

THE DUP has denied that Peter Robinson was nominated to the House of Lords only to be vetoed by a Westminster watchdog.

In August it emerged that the House of Lords Appointments Commission had blocked a DUP nominee for a peerage.

The unnamed person was one of seven rejected by the commission.

At the time it was speculated that former South Antrim MP William McCrea, who lost his seat in May, was the person blocked by the watchdog but the DUP denied this to The Irish News.

In the latest edition of Private Eye, the satirical magazine claims it was first minister Peter Robinson who was nominated and subsequently rejected.

The article suggests British Prime Minister David Cameron may have put forward the DUP leader's name ahead of May's general election.

In the run-up to the Westminster poll it was widely speculated that the DUP could enjoy a disproportionate amount of influence in a hung parliament.

Pollsters suggested the DUP's eight – or possibly nine – MPs could have held the balance of power following what was predicted to be one of the closest elections for decades.

In the end, however, the Conservatives won a clear majority and in the short-to-medium term seem unlikely to rely on DUP support.

Private Eye claims the commission said that the person rejected was a former MP and that all indications suggest it was Mr Robinson.

But the DUP spokesman yesterday refuted the article and said the party did not comment on nominations to the Lords or similar appointment processes.

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