Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister says ‘victims must always have best opportunity for justice’ after DUP leader quits over sex offence allegations | Politics News

Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister Emma Little-Pengelly of the Democratic Unionist Party has said “victims must always have the best opportunity for justice”.

It comes after Sir Jeffrey Donaldson stepped down as DUP leader on Friday as he faces charges over alleged historical sexual offences.

Ms Little-Pengelly said she was “shocked and devastated by this news”.

Deputy first minister Emma Little-Pengelly. Pic: PA

She added: “Victims must always have the best opportunity for justice. This must be fully respected and supported.

“My thoughts are with those suffering who have put their faith in the criminal justice system.

“Protecting the integrity of that process necessitates significant restrictions on what can be said. I have faith in our justice system.”

Ms Little-Pengelly went on to say that she was “determined” to work with the interim party leader Gavin Robinson to “provide stability” and continue “tackling the big issues faced by Northern Ireland”.

It is understood Donaldson will be “strenuously contesting” all charges against him.

He has led the party since 2021 and has been the MP for Lagan Valley since 1997.

The DUP has been plunged into “turmoil” by the shock resignation, veteran DUP MP Sammy Wilson said, adding that the party was “gobsmacked” by what had happened.

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