Election 2015 Northern Ireland

Gavin Robinson: Acceptance speech 'disgraceful' says Kyle Paisley

Naomi Long of Alliance and Gavin Robinson, DUP, are fighting for the East Belfast seat
Image caption Naomi Long of Alliance and Gavin Robinson, DUP, were both fighting for the East Belfast seat

The brother of DUP MP Ian Paisley has criticised an acceptance speech by the party's Gavin Robinson after he won the East Belfast seat in the general election.

The Rev Kyle Paisley told the BBC's Talkback programme that the speech had been "quite disgraceful".

Mr Robinson ousted Alliance's Naomi Long from the seat, but did not mention her in his speech afterwards.

He later said he should have recognised her contribution to East Belfast.


Rev Paisley said: "It has to be acknowledged that Gavin won, but the DUP is so unsure of itself in east Belfast that it has lost its independent strength where it was once very strong.

"You'd think he would have had a bit more humility when he made his acceptance speech last night, but it was quite disgraceful in some parts.

"I'm not saying 'here's to you Mr Robinson' because he doesn't deserve that kind of congratulation."

A unionist pact between the DUP and the UUP saw Mr Robinson beat Ms Long by over 2,500 votes.

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Media captionIn his acceptance speech Mr Robinson said there was a "new dawn" in East Belfast

In his speech, he said he was delighted the "last five long years are over" and that there was a "new dawn" in East Belfast.

He added: "When people of East Belfast were asked to vote for a shared future, they chose to share that future with somebody they can trust, rather than back a party that are only interested in offering us a future if we share their view".

'Magnanimous in defeat'

On Friday, Mr Robinson told Talkback that the campaign had been "very difficult and bitter at times", but that he should have been more gracious following his victory.

"I've found it difficult and I'm sure Naomi found it difficult, there has been an incredible focus on East Belfast," he said.

"Set party politics aside, I think Naomi Long is a formidable politician. I didn't say it in my speech last night, as I say, I'm reflecting this morning as it's been long and difficult.

"There should have been scope for me to recognise her contribution."

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Media captionNaomi Long: "What the DUP say and do never comes a shock to me"

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Long said it was "disappointing" that she would not be serving the constituency for the next five years, but that she was "blown away" by the support for the party.

'Nastiest personal speech'

When asked about Mr Robinson's speech, she said: "Let's just say his party leader was more magnanimous in defeat than he was in victory.

"At this stage in my political career, what the DUP say and do never comes as a shock to me."

The Alliance Party leader David Ford claimed Mr Robinson's acceptance speech was the "nastiest" of all acceptance speeches across the UK.

He said: "Naomi showed graciousness in her speech, which was utterly unforthcoming from Gavin.

'Bounce back'

"I'm glad he showed a bit more graciousness this morning, but I never thought I would say that Peter Robinson in defeat five years ago was gracious compared to Gavin Robinson when he won last night."

The DUP leader Peter Robinson said: "At three o'clock in the morning after a bruising campaign, people will obviously express whatever is in their mind at that time.

"Having gone through the role of having lost my seat, I know how disappointing it is and that's why I felt it was necessary to pass on my commiserations to Naomi long.

"I do say to Naomi, I think I proved in 2011 that there is life beyond Westminster defeat. I bounced back in 2011 and topped the poll in East Belfast, it's not a case of her political future being over - she'll bounce back."

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