08/08/2018 10:40 BST | Updated 08/08/2018 10:59 BST

DUP MP Ian Paisley Faces Recall From Parliament As Petition Opens To Remove Him

If 7,543 people sign there will be a by-election.

Charles McQuillan via Getty Images

Democratic Unionist Party MP Ian Paisley faces the first ever recall petition from today which could see him forced to fight a by-election in his North Antrim seat.

Paisley was suspended from the House of Commons for 30 days after his failure to register two family holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

In March 2014, he lobbied against a proposed United Nations resolution to investigate alleged human rights abuses during a civil war on the island without citing his financial benefits.

The Commons Committee on Standards concluded Paisley was guilty of “serious misconduct”.

This triggered the recall procedure and should 10% of the electorate, or 7,543 people, sign a petition then a by-election will be held.

It is the first time a petition has been opened since the Recall of MPs Act 2015 was introduced by David Cameron’s government.

The petition will be open for signing for six weeks.

Paisley has apologised for what he said was his “unintentional failure” to register the hospitality, which he estimated was worth £50,000.

The MP has held the constituency since 2010, following in the footsteps of his father.

Paisley has a majority of 20,643 and is widely expected to hold on to the seat should he choose to fight the by-election.

He is one of 10 pro-Brexit DUP MPs helping to prop up Theresa May’s minority government.