Paisley to be called Lord Bannside

IAN Paisley is to be known as Lord Bannside, the House of Lords has confirmed ahead of his formal introduction to the house in just over a week's time.

The 84-year-old DUP founder, who was elevated to the upper house by former prime minister Gordon Brown, said that he could have taken the title Lord Paisley but it would have appeared that she was "sitting not in her own right but as my wife".

The veteran unionist's title is the name of the now defunct constituency where in 1969 he took on the then Ulster Unionist prime minister of Northern Ireland Terence O'Neill, who himself was eventually elevated to the Lords, also sitting as cross-bench peer.

"I was looking at that name (Bannside) anyway because that's where I started my career and I want to give that signal to the people that I haven't forgotten them.

"They named me in their votes and I've named them in my title."

Asked whether when he stood against O'Neill in four decades ago he thought that he would end in the Lords, Dr Paisley said: "No, never," adding with a laugh: "I thought I might end in jail."

The former first minister said that while the DUP is entitled to a number of peers due to its electoral strength, "this was a different thing, it was one of the honours of the prime minister as he left office."

"The prime minister has the right when he closes down to say 'People that helped me and helped things I was interested in deserve to be honoured.'"

Dr Paisley's wife, Eileen, was elevated to the Lords as Baroness Paisley of St George's four years ago.