Jeffrey Donaldson charged over historical sex offences. He resigns as DUP Leader…

One of the most explosive political stories in years is unfolding today.

The DUP Leader Jeffrey Donaldson has been charged over historical sex offences. From the BBC:

Jeffrey Donaldson has been charged with historical sexual offences and has quit as Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader.

A 57-year-old woman has also been charged with aiding and abetting in connection with the alleged offences.

They were both arrested on Thursday morning by PSNI detectives and were questioned before being charged on Thursday night.

They are now due to appear in court next month.

In a statement the DUP said: “The Party Chairman has received a letter from Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP confirming that he has been charged with allegations of an historical nature and indicating that he is stepping down as Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party with immediate effect.

“In accordance with the Party Rules, the Party Officers have suspended Mr Donaldson from membership, pending the outcome of a judicial process.

“The Party Officers have this morning unanimously appointed Mr Gavin Robinson MP as the Interim Party Leader.”

Police issued a statement on Friday morning, but did not disclose the identity of those charged.

The statement said a 61-year-old man had been charged with “non-recent sexual offences” adding that a 57-year-old woman was also arrested at the same time and charged with “aiding and abetting additional offences”.

The statement also confirmed the pair would appear before Newry Magistrates’ Court on 24 April.

It is understood DUP officers met on Friday morning after details of the charges emerged.

Sir Jeffrey’s social media accounts, including on X, were deleted overnight.

What is already being dubbed ‘The Good Friday Arraignment’ is another body blow to the beleaguered DUP. The party is no stranger to scandal and this one has the potential to tear the party apart.

While I understand the huge interest in such a story, can we remember that he is innocent until proven guilty. There are also legal issues around commenting on live cases. Lastly, we need to remember the potential victims who deserve their privacy.

Please keep comments to the political ramifications and stay away from specifics on the allegations.

Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.