North Antrim MP Ian Paisley was this week awarded the Northern Ireland MP of the Year Award at the Political and Public Life Awards held in Westminster on Thursday evening.
The ceremony, sponsored by Asian Voice was hosted by Keith Vaz MP in Westminster. MPs were nominated by readers of Asian Voice, the largest readership of all the ethnic minority papers across the United Kingdom. The award was presented to the MP by the Leader of the House of Commons the Rt Hon. William Hague MP.
The Political and Public Life Awards, now in their ninth year, are to recognise outstanding contributions by both politicians at all levels of governance as well as those who have excelled in their careers in the public eye.
Previous winners have included the Prime Minister David Cameron MP as Politician of the Year, X-Factor winner Sam Bailey as Breakthrough Woman of the Year as well as Civil Rights Leader Reverend Jesse Jackson and News Anchor Moira Stuart who were both awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Rupanjana Dutta of The Asian Voice explained “The Political and Public Life Awards represent our modest effort to honour a number of outstanding individuals from different communities, walks of life and diverse political persuasions who serve society in their own special way, and who contribute significantly, in whatever they do, towards making a better world today and for the future. These awards are given annually to individuals who have made a special impact in the preceding 12 months, ranging from international politicians to individuals who have made a big difference in their local communities. It is the ninth year the awards have been presented and as in previous years, the competition for awards was extremely strong.
Speaking after receiving his award the MP commented “I’m extremely humbled to receive such an award, especially as it was voted on by members of the public. Having seen the names of previous winners I was very surprised when my name was announced. As MPs our biggest responsibility is to ensure that all sections of our community are represented regardless of background. Having dealt with over 25,000 constituents in my Advice Centre in the past term I would hope that the people of North Antrim would say that I have succeeded in doing just that.”
Keith Vaz MP who hosted the 250 guests at the ceremony in the Members’ Dining Room of the House of Commons commented “I am delighted that Ian has won tonight’s coveted award of Northern Ireland MP of the Year.
This annual ceremony, held in the House of Commons, celebrates the very best in political and public life, and Ian has made an incredible contribution over the last year. He is a much deserved winner after so much hard work, and I am proud that we had the opportunity to recognise his achievements.”
Mr Paisley added “We as Northern Ireland MPs face very unique challenges that the rest of the House wouldn’t be familiar with given our recent past. To be recognised in this capacity is something I cherish greatly.”