Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 16:06 UK

Paisley 'may stand again as MP'

Ian Paisley Snr
Mr Paisley was expected to stand aside in North Antrim

Ian Paisley has said he is thinking of standing again as an MP at the next general election.

The former DUP leader has told the House Magazine that although he has largely withdrawn from public life he thinks he would fight another election.

After he stood down as first minister in 2008 it was widely thought that he would also retire from Westminster.

It was also expected that his son, Ian Jnr would be selected to fight the seat against a challenge from the TUV.

Mr Paisley told the political journal: "I think I would stand as an MP again. My wife is in the House of Lords, so I'll leave her to deal with the noble lordships."

TUV's Jim Allister said in response: "It is clear that the DUP have been panicked by Traditional Unionists and that the party lacks confidence in Ian Paisley Jnr.

"I look forward to the verdict of the people of North Antrim on the chuckle routine and the record of their absentee Westminster representative."

Mr Paisley, who is 83, has held the North Antrim seat since 1970.

At the last general election he polled 25,156 votes, giving him a majority of nearly 18,000.

Earlier this month he issued a challenge to TUV leader Jim Allister to fight him for his seat.

'Hiding'

In a BBC Northern Ireland interview he said his former DUP colleague was more than welcome to run in North Antrim at the next general election.

"He is very welcome to come and get a hiding in North Antrim," he said.

Mr Paisley later added that although the TUV polled well in the European elections, the party was still defeated by the DUP.



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