An MP has apologised “unreservedly” to a regional daily journalist who he wrongly dubbed a “despicable and low character” in an online rant.
Ian Paisley has made the public apology to Sam McBride, political editor at the Belfast News Letter, over the 750-word personal attack which was published on Facebook.
The rant was written in response to an analysis piece by Sam, pictured, which appeared in last Saturday’s newspaper, but was later removed after a backlash from journalists and politicians in Northern Ireland.
In an apology issued on Friday evening, Mr Paisley said that he had “expressed himself badly” and accepted that he should not have accused Sam or the News Letter of lying and failing to give an honest analysis of politics.
He added: “I accept that I should not have accused them of having a long term agenda against the DUP, of being part of a campaign to attack the Christian ethos of the DUP, or of hating both the Christian testimony and those who defend the unborn.
“Finally, I accept that it was wrong of me to describe Mr McBride as a ‘despicable and low character’, and to say that those who know him should be thoroughly ashamed of him.
“Having reflected on my comments, I am now happy to apologise unreservedly to Mr McBride and the News Letter for making these incorrect and intemperate statements.”
In a Twitter post published in response, Sam said: “I am pleased that Ian Paisley has tonight published this retraction. We all make mistakes – I’ve certainly made plenty.
“I thank Mr Paisley for accepting that there was never any truth in his claims and the matter is now closed.”