Ian Paisley readmitted to the DUP after failing to declare Sri Lankan holidays

Sophie Barnes
Ian Paisley Jr with Amari Wijewardene, the Sri Lankan high commissioner

Ian Paisley has been readmitted to the Democratic Unionist Party after he was suspended for failing to declare luxury holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

The DUP launched an internal investigation into the MP for North Antrim after The Daily Telegraph revealed Mr Paisley had received hospitality for his family worth tens of thousands of pounds.

Mr Paisley was suspended from parliament for 30 sitting days and narrowly avoided being ousted as an MP after a “recall petition” was sent around his constituency.

He was suspended from the DUP in July while an internal investigation was carried out. A DUP spokesperson said Mr Paisley was readmitted to the party following his suspension. He is banned from holding office within the party for a year.

Mr Paisley was suspended from parliament for 30 sitting days and narrowly avoided being ousted as an MP after a “recall petition” was sent around his constituency Credit: Cyrielle Beaubois

An investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards found in August that a year after the two luxury holidays, Mr Paisley lobbied then Prime Minister David Cameron not to support a UN probe into alleged Sri Lankan human rights abuses, while not disclosing the trips.

The commissioner found the cost of the hospitality Mr Paisley and his family were given may have been “significantly more” than his £50,000 estimate.

It found that the Sri Lankan holidays included business-class air travel, accommodation at first-class hotels, helicopter trips and visits to tourist attractions for the MP and his family.

The trips also included meeting with Sri Lankan governmental figures.

When The Telegraph first published the findings of its investigation Mr Paisley said the story was “devoid of logic or fact” and it was “defamatory”.

Following the watchdog’s report he apologised to parliament and said he felt “profound personal regret and deep personal embarrassment” for what he described as a “genuine mistake”.

A DUP spokesperson said: "Mr Ian Paisley MP was suspended from membership of the party on 24th July 2018, by the Party Officers, following publication of the report of the House of Commons Committee on Standards and pending further investigation into his conduct.   “The internal processes surrounding these matters have been completed.  On Tuesday 18th September Mr Paisley was readmitted to membership of the party following a suspension of fifty-seven days and upon re-admission he is subject to a number of conditions including a ban on holding office within the party for twelve months.”