A Northern Ireland MP has spoken far more times in Parliament than any MP with the exception of the Speaker.
Strangford MP Jim Shannon has spoken 247 times in the last year according to the website Theyworkforyou.
The Daily Mirror noted that the nearest of the 650 MPs was the veteran Conservative back bencher Peter Bone, who was considerably behind Mr Shannon, having spoken on 148 occasions.
The statistic is all the more remarkable because Northern Ireland MPs generally fly to London on Monday nights and then return on Thursday evenings to take constituency surgeries on Fridays, meaning that they necessarily miss some Parliamentary business.
Mr Shannon has also voted in 71.3 per cent of divisions in the Commons and received answers to 789 written questions. Last year the DUP MP also topped the expenses league table, claiming £229,262 for his office, travel and other expenses.
Mr Shannon said that he “didn’t know” that he was the most active MP in the chamber. He said: “I’m not out to beat a record. I didn’t know that figure until I was told it. For me, that’s not the issue.”
Mr Shannon told the News Letter that he raises issues which interest them, one of which is the persecution of religious minorities. He said that he had spoken about the persecution of Protestants and Roman Catholics as well as Muslims. He said: “Whenever I march under the Orange banner every year that’s for everybody - civil and religious liberty for all.”
He added: “I’m in the second half of my life - what’s important to me now is to leave a legacy for the people of Strangford who I am honoured to represent.”
Theyworkforyou carries a disclaimer that “numbers do not measure quality” and adds that “representatives may do other things not currently covered by this site”.
NI’s MPs’ year in numbers
Jim Shannon - spoken 247 times, voted 71% of the time
Nigel Dodds - spoken 52 times, voted 60% of the time
Ian Paisley - spoken 52 times, voted 46% of the time
David Simpson - spoken 54 times, voted 38% of the time
Gregory Campbell - spoken 67 times, voted 35% of the time
Jeffrey Donaldson - spoken 16 times, voted 59% of the time
Gavin Robinson - spoken 38 times, voted 66% of the time
Sammy Wilson - spoken 52 times, voted 58% of the time
Pat Doherty - none
Francie Molloy - none
Mickey Brady - none
Paul Maskey - none
(Sinn Fein MPs do not take their seats)
Alasdair McDonnell - spoken 12 times, voted 28.6% of the time
Mark Durkan - spoken 83 times, voted 81% of the time
Margaret Ritchie - spoken 74 times, voted 80% of the time
Danny Kinahan - spoken 37 times, voted 66% of the time
Tom Elliott - spoken 25 times, voted 50% of the time
Lady Sylvia Hermon - spoken 37 times, voted 71% of the time