Ian Paisley makes emotional apology to House of Commons over Sri Lankan holidays

DUP MP Ian Paisley.

DUP MP Ian Paisley has made an emotional apology to the House of Commons for failing to register two family holidays funded by the Sri Lankan government.

The North Antrim MP's voice cracked with emotion as he said: "I say sorry and apologise for the failings that were identified in the standards committee report."

He faces a 30-day suspension after it was recommended by the parliamentary watchdog.

Making a statement to the Commons, Mr Paisley said he accepted his "total failure" to make the relevant declarations.

He also acknowledged he faces the Commons suspension from September subject to a decision by MPs.

Mr Paisley said: "I take my duties as a Member of Parliament seriously. I believe I conduct myself with colleagues with integrity, with openness and that is why I have such remorse about the matter as I believe it goes against the grain of who I am - especially how it is portrayed.

"It is to my constituents, who have sent me here since 2010, that I make the profoundest of all apologies.

"They have honoured me with unwavering support to be their voice and I hope they will continue to have that confidence in me in the future."

Mr Paisley has faced calls to quit for failing to register the hospitality, which he previously estimated was worth £50,000.

Concluding, Mr Paisley said:

We all in this chamber know that in public life if you make mistakes they are amplified, and rightly so - that's the nature of the job all of us do and all of us understand that.

"But I believe in a politics and I believe in politicians that can admit human frailty, that can apologise, can mean it and can move on - because that's what real life is all about.

"It's often said it's how we respond to these challenges in our lives that defines who and what we are, and defines our character and demonstrates to us where the true source of our personal strength rests.

"The eighth-century prophet Isaiah said: 'You were angry with me, that anger has turned away, you comfort me.'

"I hope to learn that lesson."

- Press Association

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