Boris Johnson London bus pledge welcomed by Ian Paisley
News that a multi-million pound order for 600 buses could come to a Ballymena coach builder has been welcomed by the area's MP.
Ian Paisley Jnr was responding to a letter he received from London Mayor Boris Johnson who said the buses could be ordered over the next four years.
Eight buses made by Wrightbus are currently being trialled in London.
Mr Paisley said if the order materialised it would be fantastic news.
"At a time when we need economic growth and job security we now have a commitment that potentially 600 buses could be built in Northern Ireland," he said.
"That is a massive order book, that is an order book that will last for years and will develop job security.
"I think people will be absolutely delighted by that sort of announcement."
In his letter to Mr Paisley, Mr Johnson said he remained committed to "the roll-out of 600 production vehicles between now and 2016".
Mr Johnson said the deal marked "good news for manufacturing jobs in Northern Ireland and for travellers in London".
There are currently eight prototype buses being used across the streets of London, built by firm Wrightbus.
If the trials of the eight prototype buses go well, staff at the County Antrim company hope a substantial order will be placed.
Discussions are ongoing between Wrightbus and Transport for London, the organisation that has responsibility for public transport in London.'World class technology'
Wrightbus was originally awarded the contract in January 2010 to design a new bus for London.
It was the first time in 50 years that a new bus has been designed for London commuters.
A team of engineers at the factory's plant at Galgorm outside Ballymena came up with a design for the double-decker which has three entrances and a double staircase.
The design is similar to the classic Routemaster bus which was withdrawn in 2005.
Mr Johnson, who has long campaigned for a new bus for London, visited Wrightbus last November and described the design as a piece of "world class technology".
Mr Johnson, now in his second stint as mayor of London, made his comments in a letter to the North Antrim MP earlier this month.
He said: "I remain committed to the rollouts of 600 production vehicles between now and 2016."