DUP spad told officials he was resigning to campaign and didn't mention RHI allegations
ANDREW Crawford told government officials he resigned as a DUP special adviser at the height of public outcry over the RHI scandal to campaign for the party, rather than over allegations that he sought to delay the introduction of cost controls on the lucrative 'cash for ash' scheme.
Mr Crawford, who worked as Arlene Foster's adviser during the launch and much of the RHI's operation, received a £34,000 severance package when he resigned as an adviser to Stormont agriculture minister Michelle McIlveen in January last year.
He quit soon after senior civil servant Andrew McCormick told Stormont's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that he understood influence had been exerted by Mr Crawford to keep the RHI scheme running at a high tariff level.
In a resignation statement issued on his behalf by the DUP press office, Mr Crawford said he intended to "step back" in light of what was said at the PAC.
"I am conscious I have become the focus of the story," he said.
But in letter to the officials who would decide whether Mr Crawford would receive a golden handshake, the departing DUP spad said he was quitting to campaign for the DUP in the forthcoming election – a criteria that would entitle him to severance pay.
The letter made no mention of the allegations against him.
According to the News Letter, which secured the correspondence through a Freedom of Information request, the officials were initially reluctant to approve a lump sum for Mr Crawford based on his resignation statement but changed their minds after reading his letter.
According to the DUP, Mr Crawford's public statement and his resignation letter are "completely consistent".
Mr Crawford told the RHI inquiry earlier this year that he continues to work for the DUP.