Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Friday, 15 January 2010

Peter Robinson knew wife's affair would become public

Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson said he knew his wife's affair would become known

In a very personal interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Peter Robinson has talked about his pain since revelations about his wife Iris became public.

Mr Robinson said as soon as he found out about his wife's affair he knew it would become known and her career as an MP would end.

He is accused of not telling the proper authorities about £50,000 Iris obtained from developers for her teenage lover.

However, he again insisted he had done nothing wrong.

"There was nothing I knew that was reportable in my judgement," he said.

Mr Robinson told the paper he had lost two and a half stone over the last 10 months since hearing about the affair.

"There are days when, were it not a case of getting up and getting on with things for the sake of your family, your instinct is just to get into bed, turn out the light, pull yourself into a foetal position and not come out again," he said.

I told her it would be impossible to operate in politics with skeletons in her closet.
Peter Robinson

Mr Robinson has stepped aside for six weeks as Northern Ireland's first minister while he tries to clear his name.

Speaking about when he first heard about the affair he said: "I made it clear to her that she could see out her present terms but could not stand again (for parliament).

"I told her it would be impossible to operate in politics with skeletons in her closet."

Mr Robinson said there was no rule against a member of parliament attempting "to assist someone to set up business".

Iris Robinson obtained 50,000 for Kirk McCambley with whom she was having a sexual relationship
Iris Robinson obtained 50,000 for her lover, Kirk McCambley

"When I found out about the financial arrangement I oversaw that any money went back and that it did so through a solicitor, so that it was legally transparent."

He said his wife had still not seen the BBC Spotlight and Panorama programmes which broke the story of her affair and financial dealings.

Mr Robinson said on the night his wife has tried to commit suicide the family had sought medical advice three times and were told to let her sleep.

He said three members of the family stayed with her the next day when he went to work as first minister.

However, he said he left his office when he found out she had been taken to hospital and went to her bedside.

Mr Robinson said he then had to carry on with his duties.

To watch dad go through everything he has been through and still stand by mum, only to then be subject to criticism, has been devastating
Rebekah Robinson

"It just seems that I cannot win over this business," he said.

The Robinsons' daughter, Rebekah, also talked to the newspaper about the night of her mother's suicide attempt.

"On 1/2 March last year our lives changed forever," she said. "Only those who have experienced such an horrific incident could truly know what it is like."

She said the family had saved Iris Robinson's life.

"To watch dad go through everything he has been through and still stand by mum, only to then be subject to criticism, has been devastating.

"This is the part I have found most difficult."



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