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Storm at Peter Robinson silence on Ian Paisley exit

By David Gordon

Published 03/03/2010

The Rev Ian Paisley plays the flute at the independents Orange parade in Portglenone.2008
The Rev Ian Paisley plays the flute at the independents Orange parade in Portglenone.2008
Ian Paisley pictured on his weding day to wife Eileen
Ian Paisley aged 12
Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and Nigel Dodds with DUP Candidates for Belfast Council Elections. 24/4/89
Ian Paisley DUP electioneering for Europe in Portadown. 11/6/84
November 1985 - Ian Paisley and Jim Molyneaux address the 250,000 crowd at the Anti Anglo Irish rally in Belfast
Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson being arrested in Armagh.1980
Ian Paisley addresses a 12,000 strong crowd at the 40th anniversary of the Free Presbyterian church in the Kings Hall. 1999
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
15/08/1971 of The Reverend Ian Paisley during a press conference in Stormont, Northern Ireland.
Ian Paisley at a protest rally at Carrickfergus Castle in 1971
Former Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley holding his first great grandchild Caleb Cassells
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness after being sworn in as ministers of the Northern Ireland Assembley, Stormont. May 8, 2007.
Ian Paisley confronts an RUC officer when refused access to Duke Street where the Civil Rights parade went on. 10/10/1988
Ian Paisley at the scene of the IRA motar attack on Newry Police Station. which killed 9 officers. 28/2/1985.
Ian Paisley
Former DUP leader Ian Paisley wearing the traditional red beret of paramilitary group the Ulster Resistance in Ulster Hall
Ian Paisley leaves Crumlin Road jail in the 60s
Unionist protests at visit to Belfast of Charles Haughey, former Taoiseach. Pictured Rev Ian Paisley. 11/4/1990.
The Queen greeted by First Minister Ian Paisley in east Belfast
Former Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley will not seek re-election
Hundreds of thousands of Unionists crowded Belfast City Centre in a huge "Ulster Says No" rally against power sharing after a call by the Rev Ian Paisley and other Unionist leaders of the time. Picture by Photopress
Ian Paisley demonstrates at Stormont in 1981
Ian Paisley at DUP HQ in 1985. The party leader held a sledge hammer to depict his 'smash Sinn Fein' message
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuiness, right chat as they leave after a meeting at City Hall in New York, Monday Dec. 3, 2007
Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson are taken away by police in Armagh after protesting a vist by Charles Haughey in 1980
Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams speak to the media during a press conference at the Stormont Assembly building in Belfast
Ian Paisley after meeting with the General John De Chastelain in 2004
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.
Duncan L. Niederauer, center, CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, presents a gift to the two leaders of Northern Ireland's newly devolved government, First Minister Dr. Ian Paisley, right, and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness, left, at a breakfast held by the American Ireland Fund, at the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Dec., 3, 2007. The two leaders made a joint presentation to a business audience of the case for United States investment in Northern Ireland.
Confrontation at Lisburn market: UKUP leader Bob McCartney making a point and alongside DUP leader Ian Paisley and councillor Paul Given
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness were branded the 'chuckle brothers'
Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley, right, and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in New York after they rang the opening bell, Wednesday Dec. 5, 2007

The DUP has blasted “mischief-making” over a day-long silence from Peter Robinson after Ian Paisley announced he is set to retire as an MP.

Mr Paisley's announcement that he is stepping down from his North Antrim seat after 40 years prompted tributes yesterday from across the political spectrum, including warm praise from Gordon Brown and Martin McGuinness.

However, the day passed with no official statement from Mr Robinson, the man who succeeded him as First Minister and DUP leader, prompting TUV chief Jim Allister to claim that the DUP was riven by petty divisions.

The absence of a comment followed fresh speculation in recent weeks over friction between the Robinson and Paisley camps.

But a DUP spokesman said: “There is no story whatsoever. It's pure mischief-making on behalf of some people.”

The spokesman also pointed to previous tributes paid by Mr Robinson to Mr Paisley.

“He has indeed described him as a colossus of unionism,” he added.

“The party has known about Dr Paisley's decision for some time. It may have come as a surprise to some people yesterday, but we have been aware of it.

“The party is looking forward to the General Election when voters in North Antrim will have the choice of moving forward with the DUP or moving backwards with Jim Allister.”

MLA Ian Paisley Jnr is in line to stand for the North Antrim seat held by his father for four decades.

In his tribute yesterday, Mr McGuinness spoke about how he and Rev Paisley, dubbed the Chuckle Brothers, built up a good relationship “against people's wildest expectations”.

Mr Robinson was criticised at the start of the year for taking three days to comment on the death of former Catholic Primate Cardinal Cahal Daly.

Mr Allister today said: “It is apparent that the DUP is a party riven by petty divisions and personality classes.”

He claimed the DUP leader seemed to be “having another Daly moment”, stating: “One would have thought that after spending almost 40 years as leader of the DUP his successor to that position would having something to say on the retirement of Dr Paisley from Parliament.”

Mr Allister also suggested that “the telling absence of any support for Joint First Minister Robinson from the Paisley clan when the media spotlight was on his recent troubles has stung Mr Robinson”.

Read more

* First shots already fired in a compelling fight for seat

* Constituents pondering on ‘replacing the irreplaceable’

* Champion of farmers and rural concerns

* Seat will be battlefield for unionism’s future

* Paisley: From a firebrand unionist to sharing with SF

* Allister: Legacy will be terrorists in government

* Ian Paisley quits after 40 years as MP

Belfast Telegraph

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