The Rev Ian Paisley will be given a seat in the House of Lords in coming weeks in recognition of his contribution to Northern politics.

The former DUP leader (84) stepped down as North Antrim MP earlier this month, his son Ian jnr succeeding him. Paisley had held that Westminster seat for 40 years. Now, he will be awarded a life peerage and will join his wife Eileen in the House of Lords in July.

A source close to the Paisleys said: "Ian was never going to leave politics altogether and this is a fitting way for him to see out his career. He will relish spending more time with Eileen. They will both be delighted with this."

Eileen Paisley became one of three DUP life peers in 2006. Some observers had thought that her husband's strong anti-establishment positions for much of his career might prevent his elevation to the Lords.

However, the Sunday Tribune has been told the former DUP leader will appear in the coming dissolution honours list. A political source said: "Dr Paisley's contribution to making peace in Northern Ireland in his final period as DUP leader must be acknowledged.