'No dissenting voices' within DUP over leadership, claims Upper Bann MP

Gavin Robinson is the MP for East Belfast.

A DUP party officer has claimed that there are 'no dissenting voices' against Gavin Robinson who has been installed as Interim Leader.

Carla Lockhart, the MP for Upper Bann, was speaking for the first time following allegations made against former leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson.

Last week, he was arrested and charged with historical allegations including rape and other sexual offences.

He said he will strenuously contest the charges.

On a visit to an art gallery in Banbridge, Ms Lockhart appealed for 'unity' within her party and across unionism and said finding out about the allegations was 'a big shock'.

Asked whether the veteran Lagan Valley MP should stand down, she said that was a matter for him.

"We as a party have taken action, as you well know, from our statement last week," she said.

"We will continue to work hard for the people of Northern Ireland. We have a restored Executive, we have ministers out and about... we are about delivering for the people of Northern Ireland."

Ms Lockhart added: "It's important that we in no way put anything in jeopardy in regards to the justice system, we allow the courts to do their job."

Gavin Robinson had been deputy leader of the DUP since June 2023. He also served as Lord Mayor of Belfast before being elected to the East Belfast constituency in 2015.

Carla Lockhart said there are 'no leadership challenges at all'.

She told UTV: "Gavin will continue as party leader and the rest is for internal party business and will come in due course."

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson was arrested and charged last week before stepping down from the position of leader. The DUP then suspended him from the party.

A 57-year-old woman was also arrested and charged with aiding and abetting additional offences.

Both are due to appear in court later this month.

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