The DUP councillor who chairs the North Antrim Democratic Unionist Association has issued a tough-talking statement accusing the BBC of bias.
DUP Alderman John Finlay expressed his “full confidence” in North Antrim MP Ian Paisley, and has called on his accusers to “put up or shut up”.
It follows this week’s BBC Spotlight show focussing on Mr Paisley and claims about his holidays.
The statement came in an email issued in the last few moments.
It was issued from an email address used by councillor Finlay, rather than from on of the Dup.org.uk email addresses used by the central party.
It said: “As Chairman of North Antrim Democratic Unionist Association I want to place on public record my full confidence in the Member of Parliament for North Antrim, Ian Paisley. Ian is an excellent public representative who works tirelessly both within the constituency and in Parliament.
“Once again, he has come under the media and political spotlight as a result of the latest Spotlight documentary produced by the Biased Broadcasting Corporation, and the usual suspects are lining up to condemn him. Surely under basic rules of justice, a person is deemed to be innocent until proven guilty.
“If the BBC, or any of the others who are now criticising him, have any hard evidence, let them present it to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. It is time for them to put up or shut up.
“It is worth remembering that no tax payers money is involved in anything that Ian Paisley is alleged to have done. However, as a BBC licence payer, I would be interested to know how much it has cost to send a journalist and her team to the Maldives to produce this latest documentary.”