Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Thursday, 20 May 2010 14:18 UK

NI MP to use Ulster-Scots in maiden speech

Jim Shannon
Jim Shannon is the new MP for Strangford

The words of one new Northern Ireland MP will face a closer examination than most when he delivers his maiden speech in the House of Commons.

For Strangford representative Jim Shannon says he will be the first person to speak Ulster-Scots at Westminster when it happens.

The DUP MP approached one of the speakers at the Houses of Parliament earlier this month about the prospect of using some of the dialect in his maiden speech.

He said it was at the speaker's discretion, but that a few sentences would be allowed.

"We do all speak the English language and we do express it well and are knowledgeable in it," he said.

"But this is an opportunity to present my culture and heritage and I have had quite a lot of encouragement from a number in my constituency who are very keen to see my Ulster-Scots history and language on the floor of the Houses of Parliament.

"I am really looking forward to it and quite excited by it all."

New Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire in Wales, Glynn Davies, has already indicated that he will deliver part of his first speech in Welsh.

Mr Shannon, says he is not a fluent speaker of Ulster-Scots, but is a keen enthusiast.

He provided a translation of what he planned to say about his constituency.

"There are many good things I could say about the people of my constituency, but first of all I count it a great honour to speak on their behalf in the House of Commons," he said.

"Strangford people are the salt of the earth and in thanking them for their support, I would assure them that I shall work and do the best for them that I can."

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