North Antrim voters should sign any petition that is set up to force a by-election

I am shocked, but not surprised, that people are being urged to 'forgive and forget' MP Ian Paisley's failure to declare two luxury family holidays, said to be worth some £100,000.

Friday, 27th July 2018, 2:57 am
Updated Friday, 27th July 2018, 3:59 am

The Sri Lankan government paid for these and subsequently Mr Paisley lobbied the British prime minister to oppose a United Nations’ resolution that would have resulted in an investigation into human rights’ abuses in Sri Lanka.

Forgive - Yes. Forget - No!

Mr Paisley’s political background and experience make it surprising that this was a “mistake” for which he made the “profoundest of all apologies”.

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Even the most junior of civil servants and new councillors or MPs are aware of the Code of Conduct regarding declaration of gifts.

Mr Paisley’s tears before Parliament’s decision to impose the severest sanction on him seem at odds with his subsequent bullish declaration that he has every intention of standing in the event of a by-election.

Apology made; sanction imposed; back to business as normal.

No doubt the DUP’s suspension will not extend to a date that prevents him from being a candidate.

His is a prime example of the sort of hubris displayed by too many Westminster MPs during the expenses scandal several years ago. Has this all been forgotten?

No wonder people make the lazy comment: “Politicians — they’re all the same.”

No, they are not. What an example to our young people if we allow such scandals to be forgotten or ignored.

Only a few weeks ago, Conservative party chairman, Brandon Lewis, also apologised for his “mistake” over an all-party agreement on “pairing” and voted on a key EU debate in Parliament, [when he should have stood back so that Lib Dem Jo Swinson, did not have to leave her three-week-old baby and travel from Scotland to cast her vote.]

The experienced Mr Lewis had curiously managed to avoid such a “mistake” in previous, less critical votes!

People are saying that Mr Paisley works hard for his constituents and thus his misconduct should be overlooked. Are hard-working MPs in such short supply?

This is tribalism and we will never move forward as a country if we continue to support politicians purely because of the party they belong to.

No doubt the DUP wish us to forget that there is currently an investigation into why Mid and East Antrim Council public funds were used to sponsor a table at a DUP constituency dinner — hosted, incidentally by Ian Paisley!

The party also faces questions on funds with regard to the EU referendum.

I would urge North Antrim voters to sign any petition that is set up to force a by-election, so that people can express their views through the ballot box.

And please don’t vote for the backward-looking DUP — or any other tribalist party — but for a candidate with high moral standards and progressive policies.

Glenise Morgan, Ballycastle