Northern Ireland news

Ex-special adviser Andrew Crawford 'no longer employed by DUP'

ASSERTIONS: Andrew Crawford told Moy Park its suppliers would not be negatively impacted by changes to the RHI scheme
Brendan Hughes

ARLENE Foster's RHI scandal-hit special adviser Andrew Crawford is no longer working for the DUP, it is understood.

Mr Crawford resigned as a DUP special adviser (Spad) in 2017 amid the RHI controversy and was later employed by the party part-time advising on Brexit.

A party source yesterday told The Irish News that Mr Crawford is no longer employed by the DUP.

Mr Crawford was DUP leader Mrs Foster's Spad when as Stormont enterprise minister she launched the botched Renewable Heat Incentive scheme in 2012.

He resigned as a Spad in January 2017 after a senior civil servant alleged he exerted influence over delays in curbing the scheme's overgenerous tariffs. He denied wrongdoing.

Since Stormont's collapse in early 2017 in the wake of the RHI controversy, some Spads have moved to other back-room party roles while others have left party politics.

Among the former Spads in the First Minister's office, Timothy Johnston has since become the DUP's chief executive and Philip Weir works in the party's policy team, while Richard Bullick took up a role in a public relations firm.

Former Sinn Féin Spad Mark Mullan is leaving a party comms role to train as a firefighter, while ex-Spad Conor Heaney is working with party MEP Martina Anderson.

Two former DUP spads, the education minister's aide David Graham and Andrew Gowan in the communities department, were elected in May as DUP councillors in Belfast and Lisburn and Castlereagh councils respectively.

While ex-DUP economy minister Simon Hamilton left politics to become chief executive of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce, his former adviser John Robinson returned to his previous role as the party's director of communications.

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