Ian Paisley: Under-fire DUP MP’s wife insists he does ‘so much more than any MLA’

The wife of under-fire North Antrim DUP MP Ian Paisley has called for people to “lay off” her husband, claiming there is a “witch hunt” against him.

Fiona Paisley took to the News Letter’s Facebook page this morning to post a comment in defence of her husband, who has been widely criticised for billing a charity more than £6,000 after he appeared at a peace conference in New York last year.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley with his wife, Fiona. Pic by Stephen Davison, Pacemaker

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley with his wife, Fiona. Pic by Stephen Davison, Pacemaker

In her post, Mrs Paisley appealed for people to let her husband “get on with his job” and said “he is doing so much more than any MLA ‘not sitting’ up at Stormont but continuing to claim their salary.”

Mr Paisley has insisted his decision to fly first class to New York when other politicians from Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic flew economy class was dictated by his “last-minute” invite to the event, and other commitments which meant he couldn’t confirm his attendance until just a couple of days before the 20 Years of Peace conference.

He has faced much public criticism for his actions, and calls to pay back the money he claimed from the event organisers, all-island peace-building charity Co-operation Ireland.

• Read the full story - DUP ‘not involved’ in Ian Paisley’s controversial £6,000 charity trip

Fiona Paisley took to the News Letter Facebook page to defend her husband.

Fiona Paisley took to the News Letter Facebook page to defend her husband.

Commenting on the post linking to the News Letter’s story about the DUP distancing itself from the controversy, Mrs Paisley posted: “For goodness sake will you ever lay off the witch hunt and let him get on with his job. He was asked to attend the conference a few weeks before but he couldn’t confirm because of work commitments, they obviously went ahead with advertising him as a speaker. He didn’t confirm until a few days before. Believe me he is doing so much more than any MLA ‘not sitting’ up at Stormont but continuing to claim their salary!!”

A number of other Facebook users replied, questioning if she was a relative of Mr Paisley’s and criticising the DUP man, while others voiced their support for Mrs Paisley and her husband.