Belfast Telegraph

I have done nothing to justify any resignation, says Paisley

By Mark Bain

Ian Paisley has said that if he had done anything that deserved resigning as North Antrim MP, he would have done so already.

On BBC's Talkback Mr Paisley, who is facing a recall petition, was pressed by presenter William Crawley if he was considering stepping down.

He responded: "If I believed I had done anything that deserved me to resign my job I would not be there today - I think that answers the question."

Mr Paisley was asked if accepted he brought the House of Commons into disrepute.

He replied: "I have accepted the report from the House of Commons and apologised for it... and accepted the punishment, and I think everyone knows that."

He added he did not want to say anything further at this stage that would "influence" what was going on with the petition.

Mr Paisley was given a 30-day suspension from the Commons for failing to declare family holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government. He later went on to lobby for it in Parliament.

He has also been suspended by the DUP pending an internal investigation.

North Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan said any decision on quitting would not be the MP's to make.

"It will be the people of North Antrim who decide whether or not Ian Paisley resigns as their MP and not the man himself," he said.

"Unfortunately for Ian Paisley, it won't be him that makes that decision, it will be the people signing the recall petition.

"And I am sure that many of them will have a different opinion on recent events when they consider that their MP has been subject to the most severe sanction handed down by Westminster in 70 years."

If 7,543 people sign the recall petition, 10% of the electorate, a by-election will be held.

The petition is due to run until September 19.

Mr Paisley's suspension from the House of Commons begins on September 4.

Belfast Telegraph

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