Ian Paisley ‘satisfied’ he did not need to declare family holiday to Maldives

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Democratic Unionist MP Ian Paisley has said he is satisfied that he did not have to declare a family holiday to the Maldives.

The North Antrim representative issued the statement after a BBC Spotlight programme raised a query over who had paid for the trip and whether he should have declared it to the House of Commons.

Mr Paisley said he paid for part of the holiday himself, while the rest was paid for by a long-term friend who was unconnected to his work.

He did not name the friend.

The trip to the Maldives came in October and November 2016.

Mr Paisley had argued against sanctions being taken against the Maldives over human rights abuses.

Earlier this year Mr Paisley was suspended from the House of Commons for failing to declare two holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government and lobbying on its behalf.

In a statement Mr Paisley said: “The Government of the Maldives did not organise or pay for my family vacation in 2016, which I do not intend to go into with you.

“I’m satisfied the vacation did not have to be recorded on the register.”

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has called for Mr Paisley to resign.

He tweeted on Tuesday night: “It really is time for Ian Paisley to resign. If he doesn’t, then the onus is on Arlene Foster to remove him from the DUP.”

Mr Paisley has been MP for North Antrim since 2010.

Previously his father Ian Paisley, a former first minister of Northern Ireland and Democratic Unionist leader, had held the seat since 1970.

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