Northern Ireland

Robin Newton still receiving £55,850 salary as assembly speaker

Robin Newton receives a speaker's reduced salary of £55,850
Robin Newton receives a speaker's reduced salary of £55,850 Robin Newton receives a speaker's reduced salary of £55,850

ROBIN Newton continues to receive an additional £20,000 a year for fulfilling the role of assembly speaker, the Stormont authorities have confirmed.

The East Belfast MLA, who succeeded Mitchel McLaughlin as speaker in May 2016, yesterday oversaw proceedings in the assembly chamber for the first time since the institutions collapsed in January 2017.

Mr Newton's full salary is £87,500, however, reductions to MLAs' pay introduced following a Northern Ireland Office-commissioned report by former assembly chief executive Trevor Reaney also apply to the speaker's pay.

His salary was cut to £62,035 in November 2018, then by a further £6,500 in January this year to £55,850.

MLAs' pay has been reduced over the same period from £49,000 to £35,888.

In the months leading up to the assembly's collapse at the height of public outcry over the RHI scandal, Mr Newton had faced calls to resign as speaker over claims he misled the assembly about his role in UDA-linked community organisation Charter NI.

The East Belfast MLA told the assembly in 2016 that he provided advice to Charter NI as part of constituency duties, but insisted he had never held an official position as an adviser.

But a BBC Spotlight programme broadcast last October claimed Charter NI board minutes indicated he was a key adviser.

Mr Newtown rejected suggestions he misled the chamber, but the embattled politician said he would not stand for the speaker position again in any newly formed assembly.