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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
MPs hail Paisley as best opponent
Alex Salmond and Ian Paisley
Scottish first Minister Alex Salmond lost out to Ian Paisley
MPs and peers have voted Northern Ireland's First Minister Ian Paisley opposition parliamentarian of the year.

The Democratic Unionist leader saw off the challenge of his counterpart Alex Salmond of the Scottish Nationalist Party, as well as two Tory MPs.

Mr Paisley said he felt it was recognition for a "job well done".

"I don't think any other Ulster MP has received this before, so it's something for the province - I'm very pleased with it," he added.

The ceremony was organised as part of the House Magazine Parliamentary Awards, and the octogenarian politician was presented with a solid brass portcullis at Gladstone's Library in Whitehall.

Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams
Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams were pictured side-by-side
Now the oldest MP in the Commons, the past few months have seen him sit alongside Sinn Fein in government for the first time after an historic power-sharing deal was reached.

But Mr Paisley said it was a tough call whether he preferred work in Westminster or back home in Stormont.

He said powers such as policing and justice were not yet transferred, but he believed devolution would succeed.

"It will not be in the near future, but eventually, I believe devolution will come to us on the law and order issue," he told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster.

Snapping left to summit photocall
16 Jul 07 |  Northern Ireland
Historic return for NI Assembly
08 May 07 |  Northern Ireland

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