Northern Ireland news

DUP's Ian Paisley declares biggest number of 'gifts' among Northern Ireland's 18 MPs after receiving complimentary tickets to major golf and motor sport events

DUP MP for North Antrim, Ian Paisley

The DUP's Ian Paisley has received the most 'gifts' among Northern Ireland's 18 MPs - with more than £3,000 worth of free ticket invites to major sports events.

Details of the North Antrim MP's 'extras' emerged in the latest Westminster register of interests covering the past year, in which members must declare any additional income received linked to their role as well as the source of it.

Mr Paisley confirmed he received two tickets worth £1,260 to an Evening of Racing Champions last January in London, where he was "guest of honour" in his role as chairman of Northern Ireland’s Motorsport Taskforce.

He further declared a £350 ticket to attend the Open Golf tournament at St Andrews last July, which was given to him by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in his capacity as vice-chair of the All Parliamentary Group for Golf at Westminster.

The following day, he was invited to the British Grand Prix and avail of its hospitality, receiving two complimentary tickets totalling £1,516.80 from Motorsport UK.

The development comes a week after revelations Mr Paisley gave his wife Fiona a £20,000 pay rise for the part-time administration job she does at Westminster.

Meanwhile, the register shows DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson also received a complimentary Grand Prix ticket valued at £758.40.

The Sunday Life yesterday reported that eight MPs did not declare any gifts or interests, six of whom are Sinn Féin members - Órfhlaith Begley, Mickey Brady, Michelle Gildernew, Chris Hazzard, Paul Maskey and Francie Molloy.

SDLP leader and Foyle MP Colum Eastwood and East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson also didn't record any additional earnings or interests on the register.

Alliance MP Stephen Farry declared he received honorary membership of the National Liberal Club in London last year. The membership fee costs £798.

Separately, East Derry DUP MP Gregory Campbell declared he received £375 from Edinburgh-based company Savanta Group Ltd surveys carried out.

Mr Campbell received an additional £880 by YouGov in London for surveys carried out between January and October last year.

Sinn Féin North Belfast MP John Finucane stated he received £4,672 a month in return for working between 40 and 80 hours at legal firm Finucane Toner Ltd.

He also declared that he owned "over 15pc" of shares in the company. He further stated that he owns a house in Belfast.

South Belfast SDLP MP Claire Hanna recorded she expected to receive a fee of £200 from the BBC for taking part in Radio 4’s Any Questions programme last September 17.

Ms Hanna said she also expected to receive a payment of £120 for a survey she took part in for YouGov last September 22.

Upper Bann DUP MP Carla Lockhart said she receives £2,500 a year for "farming and administrative" work on a farm she partly owns.

South Antrim DUP MP Paul Girvan stated that he jointly owns four houses with his wife in Belfast, Larne, Newtownabbey and Ballyclare.

Strangford DUP MP Jim Shannon confirmed he owns 40 acres of land and a farm at Ballygarvin. He is also the part-owner of a holiday home in the US.

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Northern Ireland news