David Cameron: Ian Paisley was controversial, but hard working and will be missed

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Prime Minister David Cameron has paid tribute to anti-gay Northern Irish politician Dr Ian Paisley.

The 88-year-old politician, who previously led the Democratic Unionist Party, died today.

In 1977, he launched a campaign based on Biblical values, claiming that being gay should remain illegal because the Bible says that it is a sin.

In a statement, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to the Northern Irish leader.

He said: “Ian Paisley was one of the most forceful and instantly recognisable characters in British politics for nearly half a century.

“Of course, Ian Paisley was a controversial figure for large parts of his career. Yet the contribution he made in his later years to political stability in Northern Ireland was huge.

“I saw him most in the House of Commons where his great oratory stood out. He had a deserved reputation as one of the most hard working and effective MPs.

“Ian Paisley will be remembered by many as the ‘Big Man’ of Northern Ireland politics. He will be greatly missed.”

Dr Paisley was First Minister of Northern Ireland from 2007 until his resignation in 2008.

His son, Ian Paisley Jr, said in 2007 that he was “repulsed” by homosexuals, and defended the comments last year, adding “Christians are scared off about expressing this sort of view.”

Northern Ireland’s Assembly voted against same-sex marriage last year, after the DUP vetoed introducing equality.

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