IN 2007 DUP MP David Simpson used Parliamentary privilege to allege that Francie Molloy – the Sinn Fein candidate in this by-election – was a suspect in the murder of Nigel Lutton’s father Eric, in 1979.
The Upper Bann MP claimed Mr Molloy had been recruited as a police informer because of “sexual indiscretions” and that status had saved him from investigation. Mr Molloy denied the allegations and again has challenged unionists to repeat them outside Parliament, which would allow him to challenge them in court.
However, Mr Nesbitt said the claims did not play a part in Mr Lutton’s selection as he was unaware of what Mr Simpson had alleged in the Commons.
The UUP leader said: “It did not play into my assessment of the candidate because I was unaware [of them]. I’ve known Nigel Lutton for a number of years. He was on the pilot victims’ forum which is where I first came across Nigel and it was one of our party who brought his name forward. I was immediately taken because I think that he is a very decent man.
“I was aware his father had been murdered but I wasn’t aware that allegations had been made under Parliamentary privilege. I think he’s a good candidate.”