Paisley apologises for ‘total failure’ over rules breach

Credit: Liam McBurney/PA

The DUP’s Ian Paisley begged his constituents to retain confidence in him during an emotional Commons apology for a major breach of parliamentary rules.

The North Antrim MP has faced calls to quit and the prospect of a by-election after a parliamentary watchdog recommended he be suspended from the Commons for 30 days for failing to register two family holidays funded by the Sri Lankan government.

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Mr Paisley said it was with “profound personal regret and deep personal embarrassment” that he had to make a statement as he acknowledged he failed to declare and register the two trips.

But he denied he had any “ulterior motive for that genuine mistake” in 2013, adding that he accepted his “total failure” and offered another unreserved apology “without qualification”.

His voice cracked with emotion as he told the Commons: “I say sorry and apologise for the failings that were identified in the Standards Committee report.”

Mr Paisley said his constituents have given him “unwavering support” since 2010, adding: “I hope they will continue to have that confidence in me in the future.”