Northern Ireland

Jamie Bryson claims ‘senior people’ leaked information to him from DUP deal meeting

Claims that details communicated via ‘wire’ worn by member

Jamie Bryson posted updates on social media from the private DUP meeting
Jamie Bryson posted updates on social media from the private DUP meeting

Senior people within the DUP were involved in leaking details of the meeting of the party’s executive in near real time, allowing Jamie Bryson to ‘live tweet’ online, the loyalist activist claimed on Tuesday.

The BBC also reported yesterday that the person responsible was wearing a ‘wire’ to relay speeches outside.

The 34-year-old posted dozens of messages on X, formerly Twitter, as DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson and his deputy Gavin Robinson delivered a power point presentation to party members on a deal expected to see the restoration of power-sharing government at Stormont.

Mr Bryson, who has described what was put to DUP members as a “surrender deal”, told the BBC on Tuesday he stood by his “reporting” of the private meeting in the face of claims of misrepresentation by the DUP leader.

At one point, he wrote: “DUP meeting is utter chaos and mayhem.” He added: “JD [Jeffrey Donaldson] ‘constitutional legislation’ sounds like utter waffle.”

He also wrote: “This presentation is really extraordinary, it truly is. The effort to spin and u-turn is almost beyond belief. I’m still in amazement at the constitutional segment. UK internal market one not much better.”

The series of tweets also included the claim: “PSNI still being consulted by senior DUP HQ staff. They are trying to use technology to sweep the room.”

The PSNI quickly responding by stating it had “no involvement in this”.

At a press conference following the DUP meeting, Mr Donaldson said: “I have not yet seen all of what was on Twitter, but I have seen a summary of some of it and I can say absolutely clearly, what was being reported on social media does not reflect what was happening in that meeting.

“There are things on social media tonight purporting to be said in that meeting that are a misrepresentation of what was said and what was happening.

“But it disappoints me – it disappoints me that perhaps there may have been someone in that meeting who was prepared to share some information with others outside of the meeting.”

On BBC’s Good Morning Ulster, Mr Bryson said he stood over “everything” and challenged the DUP leader to be specific, saying “time will tell” whether he misrepresented what happened at the meeting.

In answer to the suggestion he may have inadvertently helped Mr Donaldson in the vote as “outraged” members could have been swayed by his intervention, he said senior people in the party had assisted him.

“Obviously I wasn’t in the room, the venue clearly wasn’t bugged by some hidden device so there was clearly senior people – plural – within the DUP who felt so strongly about this that they took this extraordinary, unprecedented step.”

The DUP leader said there would be an investigation into how parts of the meeting were leaked.

“I have always believed that when you have meetings with colleagues you have to take people on trust and it is regrettable that some decide to breach that trust,” Sir Jeffrey said.