Pais­ley ‘£100k hol­i­days’ to be in­ves­ti­gated by watch­dog

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY STAFF RE­PORTER

THE Par­lia­men­tary Com­mis­sioner for Stan­dards has con­firmed that she is open­ing a for­mal in­quiry into allegations made against Ian Pais­ley.

The move by watch­dog Kathryn Hud­son fol­lows allegations made about the North Antrim DUP MP in the Daily Tele­graph last week.

Mr Pais­ley re­ported him­self to the com­mis­sioner over claims that he didn’t de­clare £100,000 in hos­pi­tal­ity from the Sri Lankan gov­ern­ment.

A re­port in the news­pa­per claimed he took his fam­ily on two all ex­penses paid hol­i­days to the is­land in 2013.

Mr Pais­ley said the re­port was “de­void of fact or logic” and was “defam­a­tory”.

Fol­low­ing the claims, Mr Pais­ley tweeted a state­ment from his lawyer say­ing: “My client to­tally de­nies the defam­a­tory in­fer­ences aris­ing from the ar­ti­cle in to­day’s Daily Tele­graph, in­clud­ing those re­lat­ing to his regis­tra­tion obli­ga­tions as an MP.

“He has now re­ferred this mat­ter, and a full ex­pla­na­tion, to the Par­lia­men­tary Com­mis­sioner for Stan­dards.”

The com­mis­sioner, Kathryn Hud­son, re­ports to the Com­mons Stan­dards Com­mit­tee.

The com­mit­tee, which is made up of MPs and lay mem­bers, has the power to rec­om­mend sanc­tions.

These in­clude an apol­ogy or tem­po­rary sus­pen­sion, sub­ject to a vote in the Com­mons.

Mr Pais­ley is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for an al­leged breach of para­graph 13 of the House of Com­mons Code of Con­duct, which re­quires MPs to reg­is­ter in­ter­ests.

The code also states that MPs must de­clare any visit to a des­ti­na­tion out­side the UK which “re­lates in any way to their mem­ber­ship of the house or to their par­lia­men­tary or po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties” and which costs more than £300, un­less they have paid for it them­selves or out of par­lia­men­tary or party funds.

The rules state that MPs do not have to reg­is­ter fam­ily hol­i­days, so long as they are “wholly un­con­nected with mem­ber­ship of the house or with the mem­ber’s par­lia­men­tary or po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties”.

Probe: Ian Pais­ley

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