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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 6°C
coalition of the willing

Northern parties contemplating anti-Brexit alliance to oust Ian Paisley Jr

The controversial DUP MP is currently the subject of a holiday expenses scandal involving the government of Sri Lanka.

Ian Paisley Jr suspended PA Wire / PA Images Ian Paisley Jr PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

THE DUP’S POLITICAL adversaries in the North are contemplating fielding an anti-Brexit alliance candidate should the seat occupied by Ian Paisley Jr become subject to a by-election.

Controversial North Antrim tMP Paisley Jr was suspended from the DUP two days ago in the wake of a scandal emerging which saw him fail to declare two holidays worth £100,000 provided by the Sri Lankan government dating from 2013.

While expressing tearful contrition to the House of Commons, Paisley has vowed to defend his seat should a by-election happen.

Such an election will be triggered should a petition calling for it be signed by 10% of constituents.

Now the SDLP says that a joint anti-Brexit candidate would be required should an election become necessary.

The Irish News reports that the nationalist party’s leader Colum Eastwood has written to other Northern party leaders urging a ‘Brexit alliance’ should Paisley be forced to resign.

Twelfth of July celebrations - Londonderry PA Wire / PA Images SDLP leader Colum Eastwood PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

However not every party is reportedly in favour of such an arrangement, with the centrist Alliance party apparently stating an unwillingness to sign up to the idea.

Meanwhile, SDLP Assembly member Claire Hanna has said that any election must be “won by an MP that will represent the interests of people in Northern Ireland at this critical time”.

While Northern Ireland comprehensively voted to stay in the EU in the BRexit referendum of June 2016, the DUP is heavily in favour of the UK leaving the union.

Should an election take place Paisley would remain the favourite to win, unless the DUP were to run a second candidate against him.

The 51-year-old has been an MP in Westminster since 2010. Prior to that he was a DUP MLA in the Stormont Assembly in the North.

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