Lord Trimble has been accused of stooping to a new low after claiming the Troubles would probably not have happened without the late Ian Paisley.
The former UUP leader and First Minister said Dr Paisley never addressed his own role in creating violence in the 1960s.
It came days after renowned musician Sir James Galway claimed Paisley was "indirectly responsible" for murders carried out during the Troubles.
But DUP MLA Edwin Poots hit back at Mr Trimble's comments and said: "I see David Trimble has stooped to a new low, attacking Ian Paisley when he is dead. He couldn't get the better of the Big Man when he was alive."
Speaking to a newspaper, Lord Trimble had urged people to conduct a "thought experiment". "Had there been no Ian Paisley, would we have had the Troubles?" he asked. "Probable answer: No. The probability is: no Paisley, no Troubles. Now it's not a certainty, but that's the probability.
"I think people ought to remember that because everybody who lived through that time knew that. Let me put it in context. I just said: 'Had there been no Paisley, would there have been the Troubles? Probably not'. That is not the same thing as saying that he caused the Troubles. That's not the same thing as saying that he bears a unique blame for it."
It follows criticism over Sir James Galway's remarks about Dr Paisley. The musician told the BBC's he "never admired" him. "I'm sure he was [responsible] because he wasn't exactly preaching let's all live together, was he?" Sir James said. He also claimed Dr Paisley "on paper was a man of God, but in reality he never was".