The Northern Irish First Minister DUP leader Peter Robinson has stepped down amid a growing outcry over the sex and money scandal which has engulfed his wife Iris.

Robinson has asked Arlene Foster, the current Enterprise Minister, to step in as First Minister for six weeks while he attempts to sort out his personal life.

Robinson has come under mounting pressure to resign since revelations exploded over the past week about his wife, her affair and her secret financial dealings with her lover.

Robinson's shock announcement came just an hour after his colleagues in the DUP decided to back him.

The party members had met in Belfast today to discuss the scandal over the the controversies surrounding Iris Robinson who is now said to be receiving "acute psychiatric treatment."

A TV documentary on BBC alleged that Mrs Robinson received £50,000 from two Belfast property developers which she gave to the then 19-year-old man with whom she was having an affair.

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly has agreed that Robinson should be allowed time to sort out his personal life.

But he said: "The clock is ticking. This is a partnership government and a coalition government.

"Martin McGuinness said clearly that we are entering into a crisis ... There is a necessity for all the people in the north to have policing and justice sorted out."

Meanwhile, DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, said Robinson had the party's "wholehearted support" and they wanted him to stay as leader.

The Northern Ireland Assembly allows the First Minister to step aside for a maximum of six weeks and to designate a replacement for that time.

Any additional changes must go to to the Assembly for a vote.

Dodds, who is a front-runner to replace Robinson as leader, said the party was firmly behind him.

Peter Robinson: Party leader steps down as First Minister as scandal over wife's affair and money dealings explodes