Social worker chosen as DUP replacement for Robinson
THE replacement for disgraced Northern Ireland Assembly member Iris Robinson has been named as social worker and councillor Jonathan Bell.
Mr Bell was nominated by the DUP following Mrs Robinson's resignation earlier this month from her Strangford seat at Stormont and Westminster. She is under police investigation after securing 50,000 from two wealthy property developers to fund her young lover's restaurant business.
Police in Belfast said their organised crime branch, which specialises in complex financial probes, had been called in to establish whether any criminal offence had been committed.
Mrs Robinson, 60, was given 25,000 by each of the two developers, Kenny Campbell and Fred Fraser, to help Kirk McCambley, 21, establish his business, the Lock Keeper's Inn on the banks of the River Lagan in south Belfast. She kept 5,000 for herself.
In the immediate aftermath of the sex and money scandal, Mrs Robinson, wife of First Minister Peter Robinson, announced she was resigning as MP for Strangford, as well as her membership of the Stormont assembly. She has also been dumped by the DUP, of which her husband is leader.
Mr Bell is senior practitioner in the adolescent social work team based in Newtownards. He has eight years' experience in local government and is a former District Policing Partnership chairman. A member of the loyal orders, he is an evangelical Christian and attends Newtownards Congregational Church.
Mr Robinson said: "Jonathan is a well-known local councillor in Ards, and he will play a valuable role within the DUP team in the assembly.
"He has worked as a social worker for many years and will bring abilities from both his elected and professional life."
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