Monday, 12 April 2010

Questions over Paisley campaign letter.

Sadiq Khan, a Labour transport minister, is to be subject to a Conservative complaint, after he used House of Commons stationery and prepaid envelopes to write to constituents lauding his record. The Tories consider his actions an infringement of parliamentary rules which prohibit the use of such resources for campaigning.

Last month, to mark the end of forty years representing North Antrim, part-time, at Westminster, Ian Paisley sent a letter, on stationery headed by House of Commons livery, to his constituents. It doesn’t feature the word DUP and although it is deeply self-valedictory, it is possible to argue that the text does not represent campaigning.

Included in an envelope with the document we have a photo of the ‘Reverend Doctor‘, or whatever his fawning acolytes like to style him, posing with ‘óg’, ‘Junior’, ‘Baby Doc’, a chip off the old block.

If the DUP used its communications allowance to fund this piece of electioneering it could constitute a breach of rules. It is my understanding that, although the letter is dated in Mid March, copies arrived in homes around North Antrim after the election was called on 6 April.  The envelopes feature post-marks from 6-8 April.

Perhaps the Conservatives and Unionists should consider another complaint if the Paisley dynasty has promoted itself, at public expense, just before a general election. The relevant question is, is this communication paid for out of Ian Paisley junior's election budget?

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