Peter Robinson has spoken out against one of his own MPs after it emerged he criticised the standard of debate in Stormont.
The DUP leader's response followed an article in the Agenda NI magazine in which Ian Paisley jnr said the Assembly was “more like a grand county council than a regional department”.
The North Antrim MP said Stormont was inhabited by politicians reading five-minute prepared scripts.
Mr Robinson rejected the allegation and accused Mr Paisley of putting down his fellow party members.
“I don't think demeaning his colleagues is going to endear him to his colleagues,” he said.
“We have a job to do at the Assembly and I regard that as being very important.”
Mr Robinson said the standard of debate was equal to that in the House of Commons.
“I can say the level of contribution we have is every bit as good as we see in Westminster, having spent more time than Ian Paisley jnr has in both the Assembly and Westminster.”
Mr Robinson lost his own Westminster seat for East Belfast during the 2010 elections.