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'DEVOID OF FACT OR LOGIC' Paisley slams 'defamatory' trips story.

Byline: MICHAEL MCHUGH and ANDREW WOODCOCK

IAN Paisley Jnr has hit out at "defamatory inferences" in a report alleging he did not declare trips paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

The DUP founder's son has referred the matter with a "full explanation" to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.

A Daily Telegraph report alleged the North Antrim MP accepted two allexpenses paid trips from the Sri Lankan government in 2013.

A letter from Mr Paisley's solicitor said: "My client totally denies the defamatory inferences arising from the article in today's Daily Telegraph, including those relating to his registration obligations as an MP.

"He has now referred this matter, and a full explanation, to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards."

Mr Paisley is one of 10 pro-Brexit DUP MPs helping to prop up Theresa May's Tory administration after her snap election left her without an overall majority.

He tweeted: "The Daily Telegraph article is defamatory. It is devoid of fact or logic. Referred to my lawyer.

"I will refer myself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards."

He posted a picture this week on the social networking site of himself meeting Sri Lankan High Commissioner Amari Wijewardene "to discuss NI-Sri Lanka trade deal after Brexit".

Two days later he tweeted a picture of himself with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox "discussing our trade agreements post Brexit".

The House of Commons Code of Conduct states MPs must declare any visit to a destination outside the UK which "relates in any way to their membership of the House or to their parliamentary or political activities" and which cost more than PS300, unless they have paid for it themselves or out of parliamentary or party funds.

The rules state MPs do not have to register family holidays, as long as they are "wholly unconnected with membership of the House or with the member's parliamentary or political activities".

Mr Paisley's register entries include a trade mission to Sri Lanka in 2012, as well as a second trip to the island that year as part of a cross-party parliamentary delegation examining post-war reconstruction, funded to the tune of PS3,200 by the Colombo government.

Complaints over possible breaches of the Code are investigated by Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson, who reports to the Commons Standards Committee.

This committee, made up of MPs and lay members, can recommend sanctions such as requiring an apology or a temporary suspension.

Duncan Hames, policy director at Transparency International UK, said: "These are very serious allegations, and the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner should make investigating them a top priority.

"Any unnecessary delay to resolving this matter would only damage public confidence in Parliament's ability to police its standards for MPs' conduct."

When asked about the claims the Prime Minister's spokeswoman said: "I think that's a matter for the Parliamentary Standards Authority."

irish@mgn.co.uk

an overal"My client totally denies the defamatory inferences from article PAISLEY'S SOLICITOR on daily telegraph claims

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ANGRY RESPONSE DUP MP Ian Paisley

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:9SRIL
Date:Sep 9, 2017
Words:495
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