Northern Ireland news

Former Rangers FC owner claims DUP offered him a peerage

Former Ranger's owner Craig Whyte. Picture by Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

THE former owner of Rangers Football Club has claimed the DUP offered him a peerage in exchange for a donation of £250,000.

Craig Whyte said the "offer was on the table and if I had pressed the button it would have happened".

The claim, which has been dismissed by the DUP, is made in Mr Whyte's autobiography, Into the Bear Pit.

Mr Whyte (49) bought the Scottish football club for £1 from David Murray in 2011. But it was crippled with financial trouble and went bust less than a year later over a £9 million unpaid tax bill.

In his book, due for release on Friday to coincide with the eight anniversary of Rangers' administration, Mr Whyte has claimed the DUP were ready to offer him a peerage in the House of Lords.

He writes: "It was fascinating to see how people of differing political persuasions had a common cause in their love for Rangers.

"The political reach of the club amazed me. And as a door-opener being the owner of a significant football club couldn't be beat.

"For example, one of my colleagues at Merchant House, who was involved with the Conservative Party and Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, said to me: 'You're not going to believe this.

"'I've got a great deal for you.

"'I have been talking to senior people in the DUP and they want to offer you a peerage so you can sit in the House of Lords for them, if you donate £250,000 and hold some functions for them in Northern Ireland'.

In a statement a DUP spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph: "This is absolute nonsense and a desperate attempt to help sell a book.

"Mr Whyte should name and shame if he's so confident of his facts."

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