DEFIANT Ian Paisley Jnr said last night he was taking legal advice over criticism that he receives a salary out of his father's Westminster staffing allowances.
The Junior Minister at Stormont confirmed yesterday that he held the post, but was angered by comments made by SDLP MLA for North Antrim Declan O'Loan and Sir Alastair Graham, ex-chairman of Westminster's Committee on Standards in Public Life.
Mr Paisley Jnr noted he is doing nothing wrong, and said he has been on his father's payroll as an assistant at the House of Commons for 20 years.
He added that the pay – a figure which has not been disclosed – has been in the public domain in the Assembly members' register of interests since 1998.
Late last night Mr Paisley Jnr refused to comment further.
The wage, paid to him as a researcher, is additional to the 62,710 he is paid as an MLA and Junior Minister at Stormont.
The row comes at a time when the main political parties in Britain are under pressure to reveal details of their staff, amid reports that employment of relatives is widespread.
A News Letter report yesterday revealed that around 30 of the 108 MLAs are employing family members at Stormont or in their constituency offices.
Mr Paisley said: "I have never once received a complaint about my work or my work rate and the people I interact with have extremely pressing problems and they receive an efficient and effective service."
His various responsibilities as minister include young people and European relations.
Mr Paisley Jnr has been dogged by difficult Press for months.
His relationship with developer Seymour Sweeney, who wants to build the Causeway visitors' centre, was scrutinised.
Later the MLA was under fire when it emerged he made constituency requests during the St Andrews talks.
On no occasion has he been shown to have done anything wrong.