Northern Ireland news

Eileen Paisley hurt by DUP MP son's behaviour but punishment was 'very severe'

Eileen Paisley said her son Ian did wrong and faced the consequences

EILEEN Paisley has told how she was hurt by her son Ian's unprecedented suspension from Westminster but said he should be forgiven.

The North Antrim MP was suspended from the House of Commons for 30 sitting days last year after failing to register two luxury family holidays in Sri Lanka, paid for by its government.

He was also found to have carried out paid advocacy on behalf of the regime, writing to then prime minister David Cameron urging him not to support a UN probe into human rights abuses on the south Asian island.

His suspension triggered the first recall petition in UK parliamentary history, but the DUP MP narrowly avoided a by-election when it fell short by 444 votes.

He has since faced questions over a family holiday to the Maldives in 2016, which he said was paid for in part by a friend.

Baroness Paisley made her remarks in the latest edition of 'Eamonn Mallie Face to Face', which will on UTV tomorrow night.

Asked by the veteran broadcaster how she felt when her son's "largesse" was exposed and about the sanctions, the late DUP founder's wife said: "When your child hurts you, they do hurt you.

"When you do wrong it has got to be punished – when the children were small and they did wrong they were punished accordingly."

She said the DUP MP "did wrong" and faced the consequences.

"I don't think he went out of his way to do wrong but whatever he did he took the punishment for it, which to me was very severe.

"But he did it and he got through it and he made his apology. You can't go on beating a dog when they're down, you've got to forgive as well – especially when they've paid the price."

Baroness Paisley said her son knows how she felt about his behaviour "without me making it clear to him how I would feel".

"I mean God doesn't cast us off whenever we do wrong – the Bible says: 'Can a mother forget her child?' And you can't do that.

"All my children are precious to me, Ian among them. Ian no less than any of them. He's a good man and a very hard worker."

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