Northern Ireland news

Jamie Bryson claims former loyalist prisoners helped Lady Sylvia Hermon in election campaigning

Jamie Bryson gives evidence to the NorthernIreland Affairs Committee

JAMIE Bryson has claimed "former loyalist prisoners" helped North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon in election campaigning in the past.

The prominent loyalist was speaking after Lady Hermon did not attend a Westminster committee hearing where he gave evidence yesterday.

It is understood the independent unionist MP was unhappy about the decision to invite the blogger to speak.

Lady Hermon took her seat alongside other members of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee after Mr Bryson finished speaking.

Alliance leader Naomi Long last week pulled out of giving evidence to the Westminster committee, saying she would not "add to the circus" around Mr Bryson's appearance.

Mr Bryson, who came to prominence during the flag protests, last night said he was disappointed that Lady Hermon had "absented herself".

He said he had known the North Down MP for more than a decade and first met her while working as a community worker.

"At that point in time she was providing assistance to loyalist ex-combatants who were following a transitionary path into community development," he said.

"Indeed loyalists leafleted for Lady Hermon and helped erect election posters in Bangor's Kilcooley estate in 2010."

The Irish News contacted Lady Hermon’s office but she did not comment.

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