THE DUP has blocked a motion which was to see the re-called Northern Ireland Assembly examine ‘whistle blower’ allegations of political interference in the Housing Executive made against the party.
DUP members have submitted a petition of concern to Monday’s motion.
It means cross-party support would be needed before thee motion could go ahead.
DUP Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland’s political career is on the ropes since BBC NI Spotlight programme claimed about how maintenance contracts were awarded.
The investigation included allegations made by DUP councillor Jenny Palmer, who is also a Housing Executive board member, that she was pressured by her party to change her vote on whether the public housing body’s contract with maintenance company Red Sky should be ended.
In a phonecall, Mr McCausland’s special advisor (SPAD) Stephen Brimstone is alleged to have told her to vote against a Housing Executive motion to end the contract with east Belfast firm Red Sky.
The DUP denies any wrongdoing and the party claims it is taking legal action.
But other parties have expressed anger at the use of the petition of concern to block the motion on the issue, which it has been claimed is damaging to public confidence.
Alliance Party Chief Whip Stewart Dickson said it was important that the allegations were taken seriously and accused the DUP of showing “a cavalier disregard for openness and transparency”.
“It was important for the Assembly to unanimously support this motion to restore public confidence in the political process,” he said.
“Opposing an inquiry is in nobody’s interests, including the DUP and Nelson McCausland.
“If the DUP have nothing to hide, why have they opposed an inquiry?
SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt tweeted: “The overwhelming majority of the @niassembly will reject Nelson McCausland on Monday, DUP petition of concern or not.”
UUP MLA Sandra Overend also tweeted a comment, saying: “Petition of Concern lodged by DUP for Monday motion re Nelson McCausland … Amazing! #vetoeverything #accountable2no1”
TUV leader Jim Allister tweeted: “DUP’s Petition of Concern to thwart Monday’s motion shows, as ever, ‘the Party comes First’; never mind justice, democracy …”
Sinn Féin councillor Conor Maskey posted that the DUP were “seemingly now using it [the petition of concern] to protect the challenge of bad practise”.