You would not mock a Muslim the way you do Poots, Ian Paisley tells BBC
Ian Paisley has said the BBC should be “ashamed” for criticising the new DUP leader Edward Poots for his Christian faith.
The North Antrim MP told the Newsnight programme: “The BBC want to lambast the man because he happens to be a man of faith and they want to take the mickey out of his religion, you wouldn’t do that if he was a Muslim.
“You should be ashamed of yourselves and the BBC should be ashamed of yourselves for starting from that position.”
Mr Paisley said: “I’m reminded of the Frank Skinner line you can be anything in Britain today except a Christian.”
The long-standing DUP politician and son of the late DUP founder, the Rev Ian Paisley, backed Mr Poots to become leader, also a Free Presbyterian. His comments came in response to a reporter who had asked him about Mr Poots’ political direction, in view of him being a “deeply social conservative man”.
“He is entitled to be the leader and he’s entitled to have his faith”, Mr Paisley said. “He has never been in a position where he would try and force his faith down your throat or anyone else’s throat and he would not allow those things get in the way of how he engages in policy and policy-making.”
Mr Paisley said that his incoming party leader, who will take on the role of DUP leader on May 28, has “an excellent track record of working with Sinn Fein [and] other people across the board” and said his focus is on “making Northern Ireland work”.
The BBC said that “at no point did anyone on the programme mock religious beliefs”.