“There is a growing acceptance that it is going to happen..”

The Belfast Telegraph reports that Northern Ireland First Minister, Ian Paisley Snr, has received the endorsement, and a clean bill of health, from his wife, Baroness Eileen Paisley – who wants him to continue in the role of First Minister “until he has done what he set out to and that is achieve peace and prosperity and normality.” Nothing too surprising in that. But the report also reveals that “the DUP is to hold an annual conference for the first time in more than two years.” Sometime in the Autumn. And, in considering the future for the Paisley brand, there are also the more interesting comments from an anonymous senior party source.

A senior party source said: “It is a very close and loving relationship and they have always shared everything. His wife is his most trusted and closest confident, even more than Paisley Jnr. She would like him to stay but he is more accepting of the fact that that is not achievable.

“Given all the circumstances it is coming to the latter stages. There is a growing acceptance that it is going to happen, despite Mrs Paisley’s wishes.

“We are in a process of change. Three dates keep being mentioned – May, after the one year anniversary and the American investment conference, at the end of the Assembly year or when they come back from recess.”