Belfast Telegraph

Paisley says sorry over criticism of News Letter journalist

Apology: Ian Paisley
Apology: Ian Paisley

By Staff Reporter

DUP MP Ian Paisley has issued an apology to journalist Sam McBride following an online post criticising the News Letter's political editor.

In a recent column, the journalist had suggested that the DUP had prioritised opposition to an Irish Language Act over resisting change to Northern Ireland's abortion law.

In a Facebook post, Mr Paisley then accused Mr McBride of spreading "a lie from the deepest pit of hell", and alleged he was a "despicable and low character".

In an apology issued on Friday evening, Mr Paisley said that he had "expressed himself badly" and that he now accepts that he should not have accused Mr McBride or the News Letter of lying and failing to give an honest analysis of politics.

"Having reflected on my comments, I am now happy to apologise unreservedly to Mr McBride and the News Letter for making these incorrect and intemperate statements," he said.

Mr McBride, posting on Twitter on Friday evening, said: "I am pleased that Ian Paisley has tonight published this retraction.

"We all make mistakes - I've certainly made plenty. I thank Mr Paisley for accepting that there was never any truth in his claims and the matter is now closed."

Meanwhile, DUP leader Arlene Foster told the News Letter her party's pro-life opposition to the reform of Northern Ireland's abortion laws remains "resolute and unchanged".

In the absence of a functioning Executive at Stormont, Westminster has legislated to introduce changes to Northern Ireland's abortion laws which will make the process of obtaining an abortion easier.

The new laws will come into operation from October 21, unless a restored Assembly and Executive are restored and block the changes.

Mrs Foster writes: "We are a pro-life party and will continue to support the rights of both the mother and the unborn child. The position of other parties and their MLAs is less clear."

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