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Emotional Ian Paisley apologises for 'total failure' to disclose family holidays

Paisley said the statement came with “profound personal regret and deep personal embarrassment” .

DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr
DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

DUP MP IAN Paisley Jr has made an emotional apology in the House of Commons over his failure to declare benefits he received from the Sri Lankan government.

The failure has led to Paisley Jr being suspended from the Commons for 30 days.

The suspension comes following a September 2017 article in The Daily Telegraph which alleged that he accepted “two all-expenses paid trips from the Sri Lankan government’ in March and July 2013, which he had not registered in the House of Commons’ Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

On the first occasion, Paisley was said to have been accompanied by his wife and four children and on the second by his wife and two of his children.

An investigation into the matter found that the trips included: “business-class air travel, accommodation at ‘first-class’ hotels and helicopter flights to tourist destinations.”

Paisley accepts that the trips cost around £50,000, but the investigation put the figure at closer to £100,000.

Today, Paisley made a personal statement, saying it is with “profound personal regret and deep personal embarrassment”, despite last year calling the Telegraph article “devoid of fact or logic”.

He said:

“I take my duties as a Member of Parliament seriously. I believe I conduct myself with colleagues with integrity, with openness and that is why I have such remorse about the matter as I believe it goes against the grain of who I am – especially how it is portrayed.

“It is to my constituents, who have sent me here since 2010, that I make the profoundest of all apologies.

“They have honoured me with unwavering support to be their voice and I hope they will continue to have that confidence in me in the future.”

Becoming emotional, Paisley said that

“We all in this chamber know that in public life if you make mistakes they are amplified, and rightly so – that’s the nature of the job all of us do and all of us understand that.

“But I believe in a politics and I believe in politicians that can admit human frailty, that can apologise, can mean it and can move on – because that’s what real life is all about.”

A DUP spokesman said that the matter will be considered by its officers.

“The Party has noted the House of Commons Standards Committee’s report on Ian Paisley MP. These matters will now be considered by the Party Officers.”

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