Belfast Telegraph

DUP Tory Deal: Everyone is 'vilifying us' but 'we've cashed the cheque', says Ian Paisley Jr

Son of DUP founder says party abuse would not have been tolerated if targeted at Muslims

Chloe Farand

Ian Paisley Jr has hit back at the DUP's critics, deploring the vilification of his party but boasting that, despite the hate, they "got the money".

The son of the DUP's founder, the Reverend Ian Paisley, and MP for North Antrim was giving an after-dinner speech at an event for British and Irish politicians in London.

Mr Paisley said other groups would have not tolerated the level of abuse targeting the DUP since the general election, but that the party's 10 MPs had "kept their heads down" while leader Arlene Foster struck a deal with Theresa May to prop up her minority government.

The party "got £1.5bn out of it", he added.

He told the audience: "I'm not asking for sympathy - I've got the money, the cheque cashed," the Evening Standard reports.

"The DUP deal is something that I believe should be universally celebrated. £1.5bn for all of our people, our Catholic people, our Protestant people, our people of no religion. I ask you, how could you object? You shouldn’t and I don’t believe you can," he said.

Mr Paisley said his party had been the victim of abuse and misrepresentation since the deal with the Conservatives he claimed people "would not have got away with" had similar abuse been directed to Muslim groups.

He said: "We were the recipients of vitriol the likes of which would probably be considered reprehensible and indeed would not have been directed at any other group. If I certainly said some of those things about other groups in our society, or if you had said them, even about Muslim groups, in this city, you wouldn’t get away with it.

“You got away with it about us. And I think that is something that needs to be said, but needs to be left there."

The dinner was held by the not-for-profit CHAMP group set up after the Good Friday Agreement to promote peace in Northern Ireland and also included speeches from Sinn Fein.

During his speech, Mr Paisley did not mention the collapse of power sharing in Northern Ireland, which has seen the province without a government since January.

Negotiations between the DUP and Sinn Fein have so far failed to reach an argument.

The DUP MP is a patron of the organisation along with the former UUP MP Danny KInahan and former SDLP MP Alasdair McDonnell.

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