Political news

DUP nominates former leader Peter Robinson for a peerage

Peter Robinson is understood to have been nominated by the DUP for a peerage. Picture by Mal McCann

FORMER DUP leader Peter Robinson has been nominated for a seat in the House of Lords, the Irish News understands.

The former East Belfast MP and MLA is said to be among at least three names the party has put forward to Prime Minister Theresa May for consideration.

Other nominees are believed to be sitting MEP Diane Dodds and former MP William McCrea, who lost his South Antrim seat in 2015.

Mrs Dodds is expected to lose her job when the UK exits the EU next year.

If Mr Robinson is granted a peerage, he will be following in the footsteps of his Stormont predecessors David Trimble and Ian Paisley.

Downing Street has declined to say when the next round of appointments will be revealed.

William McCrea shared a platform with notorious loyalist Billy Wright in 1996

Reports that Mr McCrea could join his former party leader in the House of Lords have been described as "worrying" by SDLP justice spokeswoman Dolores Kelly.

The Upper Bann MLA said the Free Presbyterian minister's decision to share a platform with loyalist killer Billy Wright in 1996 "raises questions about the House of Lords as an institution".

Wright, who was under death threat from rival loyalists at the time, was later assassinated by the INLA inside the Maze prison.

"The abiding image I have of the Reverend William McCrea is him calling for the protection of the life of King Rat," she said.

"He had portrayed himself as a man of the cloth who condemned terrorism but was happy to share a platform with someone who was responsible for killing innocent people in the Portadown area."

Mr McMcCrea defended his actions at the time by saying he was supporting the right to free speech.

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