Northern Ireland news

Media figures 'in smear campaign'

Sky News's David Blevins

IN Jonathan Bell's claim that there was a smear campaign against him, the former minister implicated two well-known media figures.

He accused Sky News's Ireland correspondent David Blevins of briefing the DUP on "how to destroy me".

Mr Blevins didn't respond directly to the accusation, however, a statement from his employer rubbished Mr Bell's claim.

“The suggestion by Jonathan Bell that David Blevins advised the DUP on anything is completely and utterly untrue,” a statement from Sky said.

Former regional development minister Danny Kennedy tweeted his support for the Sky reporter, saying he had known Mr Blevins for many years.

"Not only is he an outstanding and highly regarded journalist but he is also a very fine individual," Mr Kennedy said.

"I'm proud to call him a friend."

Mr Bell also pointed the finger at David Gordon, the former editor of the Nolan Show who was only weeks into his job as Stormont press secretary when the simmering RHI scandal boiled over.

The former enterprise minister claimed Mr Gordon had suggested: "This monster needs to be put to sleep" after watching Mr Bell's TV interview with Stephen Nolan.

There was no comment yesterday from Mr Gordon, who now works as the Department of Health's chief press officer.

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