A DUP MP has accused the BBC of “lambasting” the new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Edward Poots over his Christian faith.
“The BBC want to lambast the man because he happens to be a man of faith and they want to take the mickey out of his religion, you wouldn’t do that if he was a Muslim. You should be ashamed of yourselves and the BBC should be ashamed of yourselves for starting from that position,” Ian Paisley Jr said during an interview in the Newsnight programme.
“I’m reminded of the Frank Skinner line you can be anything in Britain today except a Christian.”
The North Antrim MP, one of Poots' biggest supporters, was answering a reporter who had asked him about Poots' political strategy in view of him being a “deeply social conservative man”.
“He is entitled to be the leader and he’s entitled to have his faith”, Paisley continued.
The BBC has denied the claims saying that “at no point did anyone on the programme mock religious beliefs.”
Edwin Poots, a member of the Free Presbyterian Church, was elected as the new leader of the DUP on Friday following the resignation of Arlene Foster. He has promised to work with other unionists to tackle trading problems in the deal with the EU following Brexit.
“He has never been in a position where he would try and force his faith down your throat or anyone else’s throat and he would not allow those things get in the way of how he engages in policy and policy-making,” Paisley added.
He continued emphasising that Poots has “an excellent track record of working with Sinn Fein [and] other people across the board” and added that his focus is on “making Northern Ireland work”.
Poots will officially take on the role of new DUP leader on 28th May.