North Antrim MP, Ian Paisley is to be made a ‘Freeman’ of the city of London at a ceremony in the famous Guildhall today.
Mr Paisley was proposed by Aldermen in recognition of his efforts to increase business between the city and North Antrim and the ‘key role’ he played in promoting, at an early stage, Ballymena firm Wrightbus leading to their securing of the contract to supply the iconic London Routemaster buses received special mention.
He was further proposed for his advocacy of the union in parliament.
Mr. Paisley said: “It is not everyday a person receives word that they are to be given the freedom of a city.
“I told Wrightbus about the honour last week and I know they are very pleased both for me and once again for another very positive mention of their world leading product and the workforce who produce it.”
The Freedom of the City of London is one of the longest standing traditions in British history that dates back almost 800 years.
Some of its most notable modern day examples include Florence Nightingale, J.K Rowling and Dame Judi Dench.
Mr. Paisley added: “I am delighted with the working relationships I have had the opportunity to establish in London on behalf of North Antrim businesses and in cases such as that of Wrightbus it is very rewarding to see positive outcomes for Northern Ireland’s manufacturing sector as a result.
“I saw it my duty as a unionist to speak up for our Union in parliament this year during the Scottish Referendum campaign, I was delighted to speak publicly about the importance of its preservation. Being honoured in this way for doing so is very humbling.”
Upon receiving the honour will swear the affirmation oath followed by reading the Declaration of a Freeman in the traditional Guildhall ceremony followed by a private reception in the state rooms at parliament.