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‘Shameful!’ DUP MP savages BBC journalist over mocking of party leader’s Christian faith

DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr has savaged BBC Newsnight for “religiously discriminating” against the Northern Irish party’s new Christian leader Edwin Poots.wouldn’t do that if he was other religion

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DUP: Ian Paisley Jr slams BBC for coverage of Edwin Poots

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The Northern Irish Unionist was invited onto BBC Newsnight to discuss the election of Mr Poots to the position of DUP leader following the resignation of Arlene Forster at the end of April. Mr Poots is a practising Christian and a member of the DUP‘s traditional conservative wing, with some questioning how the new leader will win over younger more progressive voters. 

Mr Paisley Jr reacted angrily on BBC Newsnight when pressed on how his party leader’s faith may be received by the electorate.

He said: “I am reminded of the Frank Skinner line, you can be anything in Britain today except a Christian.

“I mean that seems to be the issue. The BBC want to lambast the man because he happens to be a man of faith.

“They want to take the mickey out of his religion.”

DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr slams the BBC for their coverage of Edwin Poots and his Christian faith

DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr slams the BBC for their coverage of Edwin Poots and his Christian faith (Image: BBC)

The MP continued: “You wouldn’t do that if he was any other religion in the United Kingdom.

“But you can take the mickey out of his Christian faith.

“You should be ashamed of yourselves!

“The BBC should be ashamed of themselves for starting from that position.”

Arlene Foster announces resignation as DUP leader

BBC savaged by DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr for coverage of Edwin Poots' Christian faith

BBC savaged by DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr for coverage of Edwin Poots’ Christian faith (Image: BBC)

Mr Paisley Jr said: “Because I think people are entitled to have a view.

“Now he has never been in a position where you would try and force his religion down your throat or anyone else’s throat.

“He would not allow those things to get in the way of how he engages with policy and policymaking.”

He added: “He is entitled to be the leader and he is entitled to his faith.”

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Northern Ireland's DUP elected Edwin Poots as new leader on Friday

Northern Ireland’s DUP elected Edwin Poots as new leader on Friday (Image: GETTY)

Mr Poots won Friday’s leadership election by 19 votes to 17 beating fellow MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to the top job.

The 55-year-old is known to hold creationist views and believes the earth to be 6,000 years old despite the common belief among scientists that our planet was formed around 4.5 billion years ago.

The Prime Minister took to Twitter to congratulate Mr Poots on his victory.

Boris Johnson wrote: “People across the UK are best served when we work together, & I look forward to working with him, Brandon Lewis [Northern Ireland secretary] & the wider executive as we build back stronger for the people of Northern Ireland.”

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