Ian Paisley Jr met Amari Wijewardene, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner, in Parliament to discuss a post-Brexit trade deal

THE DUP’S Ian Paisley has held on to his Westminster seat after a recall petition failed to get him ousted as MP for North Antrim.

Mr Paisley would have been unseated as an MP if 10% of the electorate in his constituency – 7,543 voters – signed the petition.

But only 94 per cent – 7,099 people – signed it.

Sinn Fein had led a campaign to have Mr Paisley removed as North Antrim MP after he failed to declare two luxury holidays to Sri Lanka paid for by the Sri Lankan government in return for asking questions in the House of Commons.

The petition device, created following the Westminster expenses scandal, was kick started after Mr Paisley was banned from the House of Commons for 30 sitting days over the luxury holiday scandal.

A parliamentary watchdog found in August that a year after the luxury holidays, Mr Paisley lobbied then prime minister David Cameron not to support a UN probe into alleged Sri Lankan human rights abuses.

Mr Paisley is currently suspended from the DUP pending its own internal investigation into his conduct.

Three centres were opened in North Antrim for the last six weeks to give voters the opportunity to sign the petition. Constituents were also able to put their name to the petition via post.

Following the result, Mr Paisley said: “In July I apologised for a mistake made almost six years ago.

“The electorate was asked to pass judgment. 90.6% have accepted my apology. The electorate has clearly spoken.

“I would like to thank my true friends, family, the electorate who have stood by me with unwavering support. Hallelujah.”


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