Ian Paisley Referred To Standards Commissioner

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley has been referred to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over fresh revelations about holidays taken to the Maldives.

The dust had not long settled after the DUP MP's suspension for failing to declare two luxury holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government when a BBC Spotlight investigation revealed further holidays to the Maldives.

The documentary, aired earlier this week, alleged that the family trip was paid for by a then Maldivian government minister.

Leaders of the SDLP and Ulster Unionist Party have since written to the Westminster Commissioner for Standards regarding the allegations.

Fellow north Antrim representative, Robin Swann MLA, said his constituency was once again in the spotlight for "all the wrong reasons" following Mr Paisley's actions.

"He seems to be involved in a never ending catalogue of incidents," the UUP leader said. "Tuesday night's BBC Spotlight programme contained further serious allegations which he needs to answer. There's no point in him hiding away until the heat dies down.
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"Based on the most recent allegations I have written, again, to the Westminster Commissioner for Standards to draw her attention to the latest episode involving Ian Paisley MP.  

"North Antrim has much to offer, in its people and places to visit, and those positives are what I am keen to promote. The continued foreign escapades of the Member of Parliament for North Antrim do nothing to enhance the reputation of the area."

Foyle MLA and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood called on the disgraced MP to clarify his actions as a matter of urgency.

He said: "Ian Paisley's Maldives jetsetting has already disgraced his office and earned him a record suspension from Westminster. These new revelations further degrade his reputation and they degrade trust in politics.

"I have referred the matter again to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for investigation. Ian Paisley should come forward now and clarify the circumstances of these holidays, who paid for them and on what basis. If he does not, then it is for Arlene Foster to take action and to do so quickly."


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