Peter Robinson, the husband of homophobic Northern Ireland MP Iris Robinson, has asked a colleague to take over as first minister while he stands down for six weeks.

Mr Robinson asked current enterprise minister Arlene Foster to take over his role this afternoon. This makes her the first female first minister in Northern Ireland.

The move came just hours after the Democratic Unionist party assembly backed him to remain as leader.

His position was in peril after a stream of lurid allegations emerged about his wife.

Mrs Robinson had an affair with 19-year-old Kirk McCambley and allegedly secured a £50,000 loan for him to start a business without informing authorities about her interest.

She has also been linked to three other men, one of them Mr McCambley’s late father, while another DUP MP denied he had had an affair with her.

Mr Robinson’s future was in jeopardy over claims he knew about the financial arrangement but did not report it to authorities.

The news was announced this afternoon by Assembly speaker William Haold and the designation takes immediate effect.

Mr Robinson has denied any allegations of wrongdoing. His wife is said to be receiving psychiatric treatment in a Belfast hospital. She announced she was stepping down from politics in December due to ill mental health.