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Ian Paisley to quit his seat after 40 years

Ian Paisley today revealed he will not seek re-election in the North.

The 83-year-old founder and ex-leader of the DUP is to relinquish the North Antrim seat he first won in 1970.

His decision could open the way for his son, Ian Paisley Jnr, to stand as the DUP's candidate in the constituency.

The former First Minister announced his decision in his local constituency paper, the Ballymena Guardian.

The DUP will officially select its election candidate for the North Antrim seat next week.

Famed for his firebrand oratory, Mr Paisley was a founding member of the Free Presbyterian Church in 1951.

His evangelical theology heavily influenced his political views and throughout the Troubles he forthrightly denounced Catholicism.

During the conflict he was a fierce critic of power-sharing, but in his later political life, he underwent somewhat of a political conversion which finally saw him enter office with Sinn Fein.

Mr Paisley stood down as First Minister in 2008.