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Ian Paisley to be offered a seat in House of Lords

Ian Paisley is in line to join his wife Eileen in the House of Lords, it has been reported.

The rumoured ascension of the former First Minister and DUP leader to the House of Lords follows his decision to step down as North Antrim MP earlier this year.

Rev Paisley, who is now aged 84, was recently replaced in the Commons by son Ian Jnr, having held the seat for four decades.

If bestowed the life peerage, Mr Paisley will join his wife Eileen in the House of Lords from July.

It is understood the honour will be in recognition of Mr Paisley’s contribution to politics in Northern Ireland.

The Sunday Tribune quoted a source close to the Paisleys as saying: “Ian was never going to leave politics altogether and this is a fitting way for him to see out his career.

“He will relish spending more time with Eileen.

“They will both be delighted with this.”

The former DUP chief looks set to appear in the forthcoming dissolution honours list despite the opinion in some circles that his firebrand politics in the past may have prevented his elevation to the Lords.

Four years ago Eileen Paisley became one of three DUP life peers.

Following the announcement he was stepping down from the House of Commons, Mr Paisley defended the key role he played in securing power-sharing.

He said he had done a deal with Sinn Féin because the public wanted a compromise.

“After a period of tough negotiations it was my view that, provided our conditions were met, the overwhelming majority of the people of Northern Ireland wanted me to do the deal. It was as simple as that,” he said.

The securing of the St Andrews deal in 2006 led to Mr Paisley serving as First Minister and Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

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