Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

One judgment may go Paisley's way, but there are others

Ian Paisley jnr is expecting some good news in the not too distant future.

But the dismissal of an Assembly complaint against him would still leave a number of other hurdles to be cleared.

It is believed that a standards investigation into the registration of his Bushmills holiday home is nearing completion.

Mr Paisley jnr is privately confident about the outcome.

From the outset he has been saying that the property remained in the name of developer Seymour Sweeney's wife due to an error.

The registration was corrected late last year and even critics of the MLA privately accept that the saga was an embarrassing oversight.

The remaining complaints against the two Paisleys are likely to involve judgment calls by the Standards Commissioners at Westminster and Stormont.

For instance, the 2003 letter sent by Mr Paisley snr in support of Sweeney's Heritage Lottery grant application.

It has been convincingly demonstrated that this letter - apparently signed on the DUP leader's behalf by his son - was wrong in its claim the developer's plans had been approved by Unesco.

The Westminster commissioner now has to decide if this amounts to a breach of the MPs' Code of Conduct.

Likewise, with the Stormont complaints on whether links to Mr Sweeney should have been declared in the Register of Interests.

The Assembly Code of Conduct suggests that the key test involves establishing if a connection might "reasonably be thought to be relevant ".

Early verdicts on these matters are not expected.

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