Political news

Jonathan Bell 'was enraged by what he saw as disrespect' and 'threatened to break my finger'

 Timothy Cairns (left) and Jonathan Bell

Evidence from Timothy Cairns to the RHI inquiry has been published ahead of him giving evidence over the next two days.

Mr Cairns, a former special adviser to former DUP minister Jonathan Bell, has claimed Mr Bell tried to break his finger and swing a punch at him.

In his written evidence Mr Cairns refers to an incident at a breakfast table in a London hotel on June 10 2015.

"For my part, I certainly did not handle the conflict well. I was embarrassed and simply wanted the incident to end. I said 'well Jonathan if you want to be the man with big balls and just make the decision go right ahead, but this is an East Belfast matter and if I was you I would consult Peter Robinson at the very least'.

"Jonathan was enraged by what he saw as disrespect. While I was making this comment I must have been waging my finger, Jonathan reached to grab my finger, I pulled it back from his grip. In an aggressive tone Jonathan said 'if you wag your finger at me again I will break it'."

Mr Bell rejected the claims after appearing in front of the inquiry last week. You can read full reports from day one and day two of his evidence.

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was a botched green energy scheme set up in 2012 which encouraged businesses to switch from using fossil fuels to renewable sources.

A lack of cost controls meant there was a multi-million pound overspend which led to Stormont's collapse in January 2017 and the establishement of a public inquiry.

  • You can read Timothy Cairns' written evidence to the inquiry here:

Document one

Document two

Document three

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