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DUP spin doctor should be disciplined says former Nipsa chief

DUP spin doctor John Robinson leaked emails while working as a special adviser. Picture by Mal McCann

THE recently retired head of Northern Ireland's largest public sector union believes the DUP's chief spin doctor should face a party disciplinary process over leaking emails.

When working as a special adviser for former economy minister Simon Hamilton in January last year, John Robinson was also a civil service employee. He has since resumed his role as the DUP's director of communications.

With Mr Hamilton's consent, Mr Robinson leaked fellow civil servants' emails to the press and Department of the Economy permanent secretary in the hope that their publication would take attention off DUP spad Andrew Crawford, who was under intense media scrutiny at the time.

The leaking of the emails was revealed at the RHI inquiry earlier this week by Mr Hamilton.

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Bumper Graham, who retired as Nipsa assistant general secretary earlier this year, said if Mr Robinson were still a special adviser, employed by the civil service, he would face the sack.

"If that had been an ordinary civil servant doing that you can imagine they would be facing disciplinary action and possibly dismissal," Mr Graham told The Irish News.

He said the DUP should initiate disciplinary proceedings against its chief spin doctor.

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"The DUP like all political parties gets public money and those funds are being used to pay someone who has clearly committed very serious offences," he said.

"One of the things the party could do is to suspend him pending the outcome of the inquiry and if the inquiry says that he was guilty, then it's probably a sackable offence."

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