PSNI lifts investigation into claim UDA threatened Jeffrey Donaldson’s DUP leadership campaign team
Police have dropped their investigation into allegations that the UDA threatened Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s DUP leadership campaign team – after the complaint was withdrawn.
It emerged in May that Sir Jeffrey had claimed that the loyalist paramilitary group threatened some members of his team during his campaign to become party leader.
A PSNI investigation was opened after receiving a complaint that “a number of members of a political party had been threatened during a recent leadership campaign.”
But nearly five months later, police confirmed to Belfast Live that the issue was no longer being pursued.
“This case was closed because the complainant did not wish to pursue this case,” said a spokesperson for PSNI.
Sir Jeffrey narrowly lost to Stormont minister Edwin Poots in the first DUP leadership race in its 50-year history.
He eventually became DUP leader in June after Mr Poots resigned just weeks after taking office following an internal party revolt.
Sir Jeffrey has been reported to have made the allegation of UDA threats during a rowdy party meeting at a Belfast hotel to ratify Mr Poots’ election victory.
PSNI’s investigation focused on text messages and Facebook messages sent to DUP politicians, Sunday Life reported.
Mr Poots said at the time that any allegations of threats to anyone should be reported to the police.
He said none of his team had engaged in intimidation, insisting that they were running a fair and clean campaign.
In a recent interview, Sir Jeffrey said he had a duty as a political leader to speak out against the paramilitary and organized crime in Northern Ireland.
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He told the Sunday Independent: “Where I have the responsibility is to use my voice on the union side, to ensure that those who claim to be union members but who continue to engage in organized crime put end to the paramilitary.
When asked what he was doing to tackle the problem, he said: “As a trade union leader I am very clear. I want to see a Northern Ireland freed from the grip of the paramilitary and freed of the terrible impact that terrorism has had here.
“This means that we must all use our influence to rid society of this scourge, whether it comes from one side or the other.”
The Lagan Valley MP added: “I will use my influence as best I can, where I believe it can be wielded, to end the type of crime and paramilitary that unfortunately has a hold on communities in parts of Northern Ireland. “
The DUP was asked by Belfast Live whether the withdrawn complaint to the police over the alleged threats from the UDA was lodged by a party member. It was also asked whether the PSNI should continue its investigation.
The party did not respond to requests for comment.
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