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Ian Paisley must be completely open about Maldives holiday

Only a matter of days after returning from a record suspension from the House of Commons, Ian Paisley once again finds himself under scrutiny over yet another lavish family holiday which he has failed to declare to parliamentary authorities.

The North Antrim MP is facing calls for his resignation after a BBC Spotlight investigation into a five-day stay he, his wife and two sons enjoyed in the Maldives in 2016, just months after he advocated on behalf of the country's government.

The programme claimed the trip was organised by the owner of a luxury beachside resort, who is a former Maldives government minister.

Mr Paisley denies the holiday was paid for by the government, saying he paid for part of the trip and the rest was funded by a mystery friend he has declined to name.

The MP insists the holiday did not need to be registered and initially told Spotlight he had discussed the matter with the parliamentary commissioner for standards Kathryn Stone.

However, he later clarified that he had not spoken to the commissioner but to a parliamentary registrar who administers the register of members' interests.

Unfortunately for Mr Paisley, all this does not look good coming as it does after he was severely sanctioned by Westminster for failing to declare two family holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government and lobbying on its behalf.

The latest allegations will not be welcomed by DUP leader Arlene Foster who last month apologised after acknowledging that behaviour within party ranks had not matched standards expected of people holding office.

Party officers are now considering these matters, 'being mindful of the high standards we require of elected representatives.'

It remains to be seen just how seriously the party will take this issue but it is also clear that it needs to be fully investigated by the standards commissioner.

As a Member of Parliament, Mr Paisley has a duty to be open and transparent about this holiday and that includes disclosing who helped to fund it.

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