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DUP has questions to answer over MLA’s ‘paid advocacy’ – Maskey

30 July, 2019 - by Alex Maskey

The DUP have serious questions to answer over the latest paid advocacy scandal engulfing the party,Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has said.

The West Belfast MLA was commenting after it emerged that DUP Assembly member Trevor Clarke has been running a side-line business lobbying on behalf of planning applicants.

Alex Maskey said: “The revelations that Trevor Clarke has been running a side business lobbying on behalf of planning applicants are extremely serious and need to be fully and rigorously investigated because the public need to have absolute confidence in the transparency of the planning process. That is something the Executive and Assembly were very clear about when planning powers were transferred to local councils.

“The former Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life has already said that Trevor Clarke’s lobbying activities appear to be a ‘major conflict of interest’ and a breach of the Assembly code of conduct, which prohibits paid advocacy.

“I share those concerns and find it extraordinary that the DUP quickly defended Trevor Clarke’s actions.

“The DUP have already been rocked by one paid advocacy scandal over Ian Paisley’s links to foreign governments but it appears that nothing has been learned by the DUP leadership.

“That party now has more very serious questions to answer over exactly what standard of behaviour it expects from its public representatives.”

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