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Peter Robinson threatens to resign over emblem row

Northern Ireland’s First Minister said today that he would resign rather than see the crown or other British symbols removed from the uniforms of prison officers.

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire

NORTHERN IRELAND’S First Minister Peter Robinson has said he will resign if proposals to remove the crown or other British symbols from the emblems worn by prison officers were accepted.

Robinson said that he would step down and “take the matter to the electorate” rather than accept the proposals put forward earlier today by David Ford, Justice Minister and leader of the Alliance party, the Guardian reports. The removal of the crown badge was “simply not on the agenda”, Robinson said.

Ford had told the Stormont Assembly that major reform of the prison service in Northern Ireland was needed, including the appearance of officers’ uniforms. He was presenting a report, which made 40 recommendations about how changes could be made to the service to help it operate more efficiently.

Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney commented that there were “big challenges out there – and threatening resignations and elections is not what people voted for last May and it is not helpful”.

Later in the afternoon, Ford said that no decision about the symbols had been made, reports 4NI.co.uk: ”I have had discussions today with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister about Prison Reform. It is clear from those discussions that there are significant and controversial aspects of the reform programme that should be considered by the Executive,” he said.

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