Saturday 21 October 2017

Wife silent on photo of Nesbitt lying face down on the ground which he says was 'play-acting'

Mike Nesbitt on the floor of the Stormont Hotel. Photo: Sunday Life
Mike Nesbitt on the floor of the Stormont Hotel. Photo: Sunday Life
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Her politician husband has found himself in controversy over a photo which showed him face down on the ground in a hotel foyer.

But former broadcaster Lynda Bryans seems more concerned with headlines on the British Labour Party's election manifesto.

Former Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has said a photo taken of him sprawled across a hotel foyer, seemingly after a punch, was "only a bit of fun" .

The picture showed Mr Nesbitt lying face down in the lobby of the Stormont Hotel with Marie Hyland, a women in her 70s from west Belfast, standing over him.

Ms Hyland, who is the grandmother of boxer Paul Hyland, has said media reaction to the photo has caused her upset.

She said it was a joke that's been blown out of proportion.

Former UUP leader Mike Nesbitt with his wife Lynda Bryans. Photo: PA
Former UUP leader Mike Nesbitt with his wife Lynda Bryans. Photo: PA

While the picture has been doing the rounds since it was first published last week, Mr Nesbitt's wife, media expert Ms Bryans, has remained silent.

Instead she has been focusing on matters on the other side of the Irish Sea.

The former UTV presenter, a current lecturer in journalism in Belfast Metropolitan College, yesterday retweeted a post praising the headline on an article by financial magazine The Economist.

"Old McDonnell has a plan. He eyes IOUs," it said.

The humorously headlined piece was about the British Labour Party's manifesto and the ideas of its leader Jeremy Corbyn and his shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

When contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday, Ms Bryans (55) declined to comment about the photo of her husband, with whom she has two children.

"I'm sorry I can't say anything, I'm not permitted to," she said, when asked if she had a view on the image which was apparently the result of a jovial meeting between Ms Hyland and Mr Nesbitt.

Earlier this week, Mr Nesbitt broke his silence on the photograph.

He said while he was reluctant to make a statement about an incident in which "nothing untoward" took place, the son of a wedding guest at the hotel on the night had contacted him to say his mother was distressed after being contacted by the media.

"Her son tells me she confirmed to the journalist all that happened was just a bit of fun, banter and play-acting. He then asked me if I would make a public statement to that effect.

"For that reason, and that reason only, I wish to clarify that my engagement with the wedding party was only a bit of fun, and has been blown totally out of context by the publication of the photograph," he said.

Irish Independent

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