Northern Ireland

DUP councillor Jenny Palmer 'told adviser was toast'

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Media captionDUP councillor Jenny Palmer gave evidence to a Stormont committee on Thursday

A DUP councillor at the centre of controversy over Nelson McCausland's handling of Northern Ireland's public housing body said she was told the minister's special adviser was "toast".

Jenny Palmer was giving evidence to a Stormont committee investigating allegations of political interference in the Housing Executive.

The claims were made in BBC Spotlight programme broadcast last year.

She claimed the adviser pressured her to change her vote in a board meeting.

The adviser, Stephen Brimstone, worked for the then Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland at the time.

Last year, Jenny Palmer told the programme that Mr Brimstone had phoned her to change her vote in a Housing Executive board meeting on the termination of a maintenance contract by the firm Red Sky.

On Thursday, she told the Social Development Committee that Mr Brimstone became "aggressive" when she told him she could not agree to his request.

She said that at a subsequent meeting, also attended by the DUP leader Peter Robinson, Mr Brimstone told her he apologised if he had done something to offend her.

A formal apology was to be released but she rejected five draft copies, claiming they contained opinion and innuendo.

She also told the committee of a meeting between her and a DUP press officer at her home and organised by the Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson.

The party press officer told her "Brimstone's toast".

"I asked him then: 'What do you think will happen?'

"He said: 'We need to protect the minister and yourself as an elected representative."

Stephen Brimstone is still employed by the party as a special adviser.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Nelson McCausland was at the centre of a political row

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