Northern Ireland news

DUP silence on Ian Paisley 'incredulous' says Sinn Féin MLA

Ian Paisley is suspended from Westminster and the DUP. Picture by Stephen Davison

THE SINN Féin MLA spearheading the campaign to oust Ian Paisley has described the DUP's silence on the MP's suspension and the party's parallel investigation into his conduct as "incredulous".

The remarks from Philip McGuigan come as the North Antrim recall petition prepares to enter its final week.

The unprecedented six week petition was launched on August 8 after Mr Paisley was suspended from the House of Commons for 30-sitting days for failing to register two luxury holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

The DUP MP, who has been suspended by his party while it carries out an internal investigation into his conduct, later lobbied on behalf of the south Asian island's regime by urging then prime minister David Cameron to resist calls for a UN investigation into human rights abuses.

If ten per cent of North Antrim's 75,478 registered electorate sign the petition before it closes at 5 pm on Wednesday September 19, Mr Paisley will be forced to resign his seat ahead of a by-election.

The DUP is meanwhile refusing to comment on its investigation into Mr Paisley, which it launched last month.

Speaking last night, Mr McGuigan urged North Antrim's constituents to take advantage of tomorrow night's late opening at the three venues where the petition can be signed.

The Sinn Féin representative said it was "incredulous" that during the time the petition had been open the DUP had "remained silent" on its MP's actions.

"Such is the severity of his actions in lobbying to prevent a UN investigation of Sri Lankan war crimes after having received lavish holidays from that regime, that he has been given the strongest sanction handed down to any MP in 70 years," Mr McGuigan said.

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