Queen is attacked as `foolish' by Paisley

THE QUEEN was included in the Rev Ian Paisley's comprehensive list of targets at the opening news conference of the Belfast assembly elections campaign yesterday when he criticised her and described her as "very foolish''.

His remarks caused the first skirmish of the campaign. The Ulster Unionists, led by David Trimble, immediately accused him of negativity and of "losing it more and more as every day passes". The Alliance Party said he had "hit a new low''.

Mr Paisley's comments may not go down well with his traditional supporters, who are generally fiercely defensive of the Royal Family. The Democratic Unionist party leader said that the Government was using the monarchy in support of the Good Friday agreement, which he opposes.

"The Queen has no political voice, her voice is the voice of her masters and, of course, she has become the parrot. She is very foolish to do what she's doing and I don't think the people of Northern Ireland will take kindly to it,'' he said.

Buckingham Palace said the only comment the Queen had made was at the time of the agreement, when she said she shared delight about the accord.

Mr Paisley's many targets yesterday included the media and polling organisations which he accused of "colossal" deception: "You people carried out a coercion of the minds and hearts of the Ulster people," he told reporters. "This campaign reeked of the same stench as came from Germany in the rise of fascism.''

Saying he had been satisfied with the referendum result, he added: "The press reported that I was very miserable-looking. That's an absolute lie. I was very happy.''

He and other DUP members signalled a toning-down of the party's line, moving it away from the apocalyptic pre-referendum warnings to a less unremittingly negative approach tailored for the assembly campaign. "We're not wreckers, we're savers," he declared, saying they would work "constructively, peacefully, constitutionally and democratically" within the assembly.

Mr Trimble's party last night decided not to permit one of its MPs, Geoffrey Donaldson, who had been against the agreement, to stand in the assembly elections. Mr Donaldson, the party's youngest MP and often mentioned as a possible future leader, said he was "disappointed'' but would accept the decision, which was taken at a meeting of party officers. The move was seen as a sign of growing confidence among Trimble loyalists after the strong yes vote in the referendum.

The party leadership suffered a setback, however, when its South Antrim association picked an opponent of the agreement as one of its two assembly candidates. John Hunter, a barrister, has made no secret of his anti-accord stand. He said the selections showed that democracy was alive and well within the party, adding that he had made his views absolutely clear to the selection meeting, with a large number of delegates obviously supporting them.

Similar selection meetings are to take place all over Northern Ireland in the next two weeks. Mr Trimble hopes to ensure that as many as possible of those selected will back his pro-agreement line.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower