Paisley becomes freeman of the city of London

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley
North Antrim MP Ian Paisley

Ian Paisley has been made a freeman of the city of London for his work in promoting trade links between his North Antrim constituency and the UK capital.

The DUP MP was honoured at a ceremony in the city’s Guildhall on Friday.

The award is in recognition of his efforts in helping Wrightbus secure a contract to supply the iconic London Routemaster buses, and for his advocacy of the Union in Parliament.

Mr Paisley said: “I am delighted with the working relationships I have had the opportunity to establish in London on behalf of North Antrim businesses.

“It is not every day a person receives word that they are to be given the freedom of a city. But to be honoured with the freedom of our nation’s capital I am more than privileged and pleasantly surprised.

“I am delighted that my proposer was so enthusiastic about the work I have done in promoting business and commercial links between North Antrim companies and London and that this has been recognised.

“I told the Wrightbus company about the honour last week. I know they are very pleased both for me and once again for another very positive mention of their world-leading product and the workforce who produce it.”

The Freedom of the city of London is one of the longest-standing traditions in British history dating back almost 800 years.

Notable recipients over the years include Florence Nightingale, Winston Churchill, Bob Geldoff and JK Rowling.

Mr Paisley added: “In cases such as that of Wrightbus it is very rewarding to see positive outcomes for Northern Ireland’s manufacturing sector as a result.

“I saw it my duty as a unionist to speak up for the Union in Parliament this year during the Scottish Referendum campaign. I was delighted to speak publicly about the importance of its preservation. Being honoured in this way for doing so is very humbling.”

Following the traditional ceremony at the Guildhall, Mr Paisley attended a private reception in the state rooms of Parliament.