Paisley hits back at 'joke' attack by McCartney
DUP leader Ian Paisley today branded as a "joke" a stinging attack on him and his wife by Robert McCartney.
The former North Down MP accused Mr Paisley of becoming "comfortable" as part of the British Establishment.
Mr McCartney also told a public meeting last night that since "Eileen (Paisley) has become a Baroness she has been meeting nice people every day over there", and said of Mr Paisley, "it's nice for him to be loved for once rather than reviled".
"He is becoming very comfortable. At St Andrews he was photographed with Bertie and with Tony Blair receiving gifts on their 50th wedding anniversary".
Mr Paisley countered that the personal criticism did not bother him.
"I'm not worried what Mr McCartney thinks of me.
"It's a joke - when you come down to that level of criticism you don't have much of a case."
Mr McCartney also accused the DUP of "political blackmail" over the St Andrews Agreement.
Addressing about 80 people in Portadown's Carlton Street Orange Hall, he said the DUP's stance on the St Andrews Agreement made him feel sick.
He said: "I cannot convey how sick in the pit of my stomach I feel each time I realise the magnitude of that betrayal, and the fact they will use their betrayal to squeeze votes out of the unionist community.
"They will come out roaring at this election and their warning will be: 'if you don't vote for the DUP you will be putting Martin McGuinness in as First Minister'.
"They will have blackmailed the unionist electorate into giving them a vote."
The meeting was advertised on the guestbook of the Burning Bush website, run by Rev Ivan Foster, the Free Presbyterian minister who last month said the denomination was "heartbroken" at the deal.