DUP MP Ian Paisley issued a grovelling apology last night after retweeting anti-Muslim remarks by controversial TV pundit Katie Hopkins linking the murder rate in London to Ramadan.
In her post Hopkins referred to the murder rate in London being higher than in New York in March 2018, before adding: "And Ramadan's not yet begun."
Hopkins appeared delighted by the DUP MP's support, tweeting to her 848,000 followers: "Bless your heart @ianpaisleymp - thanks for being a loyal secret follower. Big love to the @duponline."
But the North Antrim MP faced heavy criticism both on social media and from political opponents yesterday after retweeting her comments.
And the DUP distanced itself from the content of Hopkins' tweet.
In a statement, the party said: "Ian Paisley retweeted a comment originally posted on Twitter by Katie Hopkins from his personal Twitter account. He has subsequently removed it.
"The original tweet was totally inappropriate and the DUP deplores its sentiments.
"The party officers will consider this matter at their next meeting."
By 10pm last night Mr Paisley had issued an apology for retweeting Hopkins' anti-Muslim post.
He wrote: "Mea culpa earlier today I glanced at a tweet & rt about # of murders in London.
"Didn't take cognisance of Ramadan ref. Once brought to my attention immediately deleted.
"Apologise profusely for offence caused."
Hopkins responded: "A @DUPleader MP may be about to face suspension/the sack for briefly retweeting this factually accurate tweet."
Hopkins has courted controversy in the past for her comments on immigrants and race.
Sinn Fein MLA Alex Maskey was among those who criticised Mr Paisley.
He said: "I just think this is a disgraceful comment for him to retweet now.
"It's a totally inappropriate comment to be tweeting or retweeting and I think it's completely shameful."
Last week Mr Paisley attended a rally against anti-Semitism in London.
Mr Maskey said there was clear hypocrisy between his support for that rally and his reposting of Hopkins' tweet.