Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Paisley scandal: National newspapers give scant coverage to Sri Lanka trips furore

By Allan Preston

Ian Paisley's potential suspension received mixed interest in the national Press yesterday.

The Daily Telegraph broke the Sri Lanka story last year and featured it on the front page.

Political correspondent Anna Mikhailova said that under new anonymity rules, Mr Paisley's investigation would not have been made public and that the suspension was the (joint) longest issued for an MP since 1949.

The Daily Mail headline yesterday read: 'DUP's Ian Paisley faces being suspended from Commons for 30 days after sleaze probe finds he failed to register up to £100,000 worth of free holidays to Sri Lanka'.

The Sun's Westminster correspondent Harry Cole took a similar approach under the headline: 'May Threat'.

"Theresa May could face a by-election for one of her key DUP allies after his bad behaviour," he wrote.

Elsewhere, the story barely made a ripple in The Times, with Mr Paisley only being mentioned at the very end of an article about MP expenses on page eight.

The Guardian kept the story for page 25 and said the suspension would hurt May, with her majority reduced by one as she faces increasing pressure to pass contentious Brexit legislation.

The Independent took a more direct approach with columnist Michael Hugh Walker, who is from North Antrim, saying "in a week of votes squeaking through by the skin of their teeth", Mr Paisley's actions "could impact on how Brexit is shaped, given the Prime Minister's small majority".

"I'll campaign hard to bring that election about, but I'd be very doubtful parliament will see a different man return, such is North Antrim's devotion to the DUP," he added.

Mr Walker raised a number of controversies around Mr Paisley's career, including having to step down as a Stormont minister after revelations about dealings with a property developer.

He also queried his voting record and his high parliamentary expenses claims.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph