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Raise the Lord ... Ian Paisley enters the upper chamber

By Sam Lister

Published 06/07/2010

Ian Paisley with his son Ian Paisley Jnr after his father took his seat in the House of Lords today as Lord Bannside.
Ian Paisley with his son Ian Paisley Jnr after his father took his seat in the House of Lords today as Lord Bannside.
Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson are taken away by police in Armagh after protesting a vist by Charles Haughey in 1980
15/08/1971 of The Reverend Ian Paisley during a press conference in Stormont, Northern Ireland.
Ian Paisley in his ermine-trimmed red gown yesterday as he is sworn in
Ian Paisley pictured on his weding day to wife Eileen
Lord and Lady Paisley celebrate at their east Belfast home
Former Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley holding his first great grandchild Caleb Cassells
Ian Paisley aged 12
Ian Paisley addresses a 12,000 strong crowd at the 40th anniversary of the Free Presbyterian church in the Kings Hall. 1999
The DUP's Ian Paisley Jr pictured after winning the North Antrim seat with his father Dr Ian Paisley
A crowd of students pictured at a meeting with Ian Paisley (centre) near Belfast City Hall. 9/10/1968.
The Reverend Ian Paisley speaking at a ceremony held at Stormont to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the death of Edward Carson. October 1985
A painting of Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams which was auctioned off to help the people of Haiti
Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and Nigel Dodds with DUP Candidates for Belfast Council Elections. 24/4/89
November 1985 - Ian Paisley and Jim Molyneaux address the 250,000 crowd at the Anti Anglo Irish rally in Belfast
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness after being sworn in as ministers of the Northern Ireland Assembley, Stormont. May 8, 2007.
The Queen greeted by First Minister Ian Paisley in east Belfast
The Rev Ian Paisley plays the flute at the independents Orange parade in Portglenone.2008
Ian Paisley and his wife
Ian Paisley DUP electioneering for Europe in Portadown. 11/6/84
Ian Paisley confronts an RUC officer when refused access to Duke Street where the Civil Rights parade went on. 10/10/1988
Unionist protests at visit to Belfast of Charles Haughey, former Taoiseach. Pictured Rev Ian Paisley. 11/4/1990.
Loretta Brennan Glucksman, left, chairman of The American Ireland Fund, and Junior Minister Ian Paisley Jr., right, join the two leaders of Northern Ireland's newly devolved government, First Minister Dr. Ian Paisley, center right, and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, center left, as they hold the gavel for a photo opportunity at the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Dec., 3, 2007
Martin McGuiness, left, Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister, Ian Paisley, Northern Ireland's First Minister, center, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, right, react as they listen during a meeting at City Hall in New York, Monday, Dec. 3, 2007. Paisley and McGuinness are on their first US trip together to drum up business for Northern Ireland's economy.
Ian Paisley at the scene of the IRA motar attack on Newry Police Station. which killed 9 officers. 28/2/1985.
Martin McGuiness, left, Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister, and Ian Paisley, right, First Minister, react after ringinging the opening bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York, Wednesday Dec. 5, 2007
Ian Paisley

It was one of the quieter moments in Ian Paisley’s political career. For a man whose name is synonymous with the word firebrand, his elevation to the House of Lords after 40 years in the Commons was a remarkably low-key affair.

As Mr Paisley took his oath of allegiance to the Queen in the ceremony which made him Lord Bannside yesterday, there was absolute silence from those watching from the red benches.

Clasping the Bible in one hand, the 84-year-old former First Minister’s voice was only a couple of notches up from a whisper until it was magnified when he reached the final four words: “So help me God.”

Slow, deliberate and purposeful, with a hint of his other career as a preacher, there was no mistaking who the newest member of the House of Lords was.

Dressed in the traditional ermine-trimmed red gown he entered the chamber flanked by DUP peer Lord Morrow and former Commons speaker Baroness Boothroyd.

As he was presented, the clerk read out the ‘Letter Patent’ which formally grant him access, conferring on Ian Richard Kyle Paisley the title of “Baron Bannside, to have and to hold and to him for his life”.

Wife Eileen, also a member of the Lords, watched proudly on while the gallery was packed with the rest of the family, include Ian Paisley jnr and DUP colleagues William McCrea and Jeffrey Donaldson.

Former First Minister and political adversary Lord Trimble was less expressive about the introduction of the new peer. He witnessed the event with little reaction.

Lord Bannside - a title he chose to reflect the starting point of his Parliamentary career in the now defunct constituency — and his supporters then proceeded out of the chamber stopping at the Woolsack for the traditional welcome handshake from the Lord Speaker, Baroness Hayman.

She gave him a warm smile and whispered a few private words, marking the end of the ceremony that took just five minutes.

Speaking afterwards, Northern Ireland’s newest Lord dismissed any suggestion that taking a seat in the Lords represented his retirement from political life.

He said: “The best debates today are in the House of Lords. It is a body with a large amount of expertise.

“When they debate a subject in the House of Lords those in the House of Commons read every word carefully.”

Lord Bannside also said he was not in agreement with calls for the House of Lords to be reformed.

“It can still make a difference as a chamber; it is doing plenty of work.

“I have sat for 40 years in the other House and I can say that the standing of the House of Lords is higher than it has ever been.”

Lord Bannside was one of 56 new peers announced on one day by Downing Street and he was introduced to the upper chamber along with two Labour peers, Jeannie Drake and Maeve Sherlock.

Baroness Drake (62) was deputy general secretary of the Communication Workers Union from 1996 to 2008.

Baroness Sherlock (49) is a former chief executive of the Refugee Council and advised Gordon Brown between 2000 and 2003 while he was Chancellor.

Belfast Telegraph

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