Ian Paisley keeps parliamentary seat after recall petition fails – UK

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Ian Paisley has held onto his North Antrim seat after a petition to recall the MP failed to reach the necessary threshold.

It was the first time the recall legislation had been enacted since it was introduced in the wake of the expenses scandal.

The petition, which had been open for six weeks, followed Mr Paisley’s suspension from the Commons for an unprecedented 30 days.

Under the legislation, the recall of an MP requires the signature of at least 10 percent of the eligible electorate in their constituency.

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Northern Ireland’s Chief Electoral Officer, Virginia McVea, confirmed that 9.4 percent had signed, 444 short of the 7,543 required to trigger a by-election.

She said: “The petition has not been successful. The number of electorate eligible to sign the petition, 75,428. The number of electors who validly signed the petition, 7,099.”

Mr Paisley was suspended for having breached parliamentary standards by failing to declare two 2013 holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

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He had later lobbied the then Prime Minister David Cameron to vote against a UN resolution on human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

The Parliamentary Standards Committee found that the cost of the holidays was “much higher” than the £50,000 he had estimated.

By failing to declare the trips, he had “breached the rule against paid advocacy,” the Committee ruled.

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Mr Paisley, who has been suspended from his party, was one of 10 DUP MPs propping up Theresa May’s minority Tory government.

He had already indicated his intention to defend his North Antrim seat, which his father, the late Rev Ian Paisley, held for 40 years.

In last year’s General Election, Ian Paisley won nearly 59 percent of the vote, with a majority of 20,643.

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