Belfast Telegraph

'A smaller man than me would have crumbled' - Ian Paisley on his return to Westminster

DUP MP Ian Paisley has claimed his return to parliament after a 30-day suspension "couldn't have been timed better" and that a "smaller man would have crumbled" under the criticism he received.

The North Antrim MP returned to the House of Commons last week after serving the suspension for failing to declare £100k in hospitality from the Sri Lankan government.

The House of Commons Standards Committee found he had brought the House into disrepute and that he had committed serious misconduct.

Mr Paisley, speaking to the Ballymena Guardian, said: "Back to Westminster this week couldn't have been timed better given the activities and the intrigue. The parliamentary week commenced with business on Monday on the Finance bill. The party abstained on the vote, disproving again the claim by my political opponents that my suspension would impact on crucial votes."

Mr Paisley will be back at the House of Commons for the crucial vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal on December 11.

On his suspension, Mr Paisley said: "I have taken what I still consider to be a severe punishment on the chin and I also think many a smaller man would have crumbled."

He added he was keen to get back to work and put the suspension behind him.

The DUP MP survived a petition of recall to unseat him after it failed by 444 votes.

Earlier this year 7,099 people signed the petition over a six week period, failing to meet the 10% of the North Antrim electorate required to force a by-election.

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