DUP’s Alderman John Finlay has expressed his ‘delight’ that his party colleague, Ian Paisley, the MP for North Antrim, has in his words been ‘vindicated’ by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in relation to a 2016 holiday to the Maldives along with his family that wasn’t declared on the register.
Speaking following the news, Alderman Finlay said,
“I have known Ian Paisley for many years. He is an excellent public representative who works tirelessly in the constituency and in Parliament.
“He has been the subject of relentless personal attacks by sections of the media, with the BBC often leading the charge. Some time ago, BBC Spotlight made serious allegations about Mr Paisley’s visits to the Maldives.
“After a rigorous year-long investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, those allegations have been shown to have had no foundation whatever. There is no evidence of paid advocacy and no evidence that there were occasions when the rules would have required Mr Paisley to declare that interest. The Commissioner examined all of the broadcast allegations and concluded that the evidence did not justify further investigation into any alleged connection with the Maldives Government.
“The BBC should hang its head in shame. For the sake of sensationalism, it has played fast and loose with Mr Paisley’s involvement in the Maldives and, by showing scant regard for the facts, has placed him and his family under considerable duress.
Concluding Mr Finlay said: “While I am delighted that the BBC has failed in its latest attempt to destroy the reputation of my good friend, I am totally disgusted with the Corporation and its malevolent agenda. It has some serious questions to answer”.