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War hero MLA's answer to young DUP rival who accused him of cowardice over debate on RHI: I was filling body bags when you were in your nappy...

By Chris McCullough

A Twitter storm has erupted between unionist MLAs - with former soldier Doug Beattie delivering a stinging rebuke to a DUP man who accused him of "running scared" at Stormont this week.

Military Cross recipient Beattie had asked "good DUP MLAs to have quiet word with Arlene Foster" and tell her to step aside during an investigation into the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI) scandal.

The DUP's Phillip Logan took umbrage, tweeting: "Who's he?

"Why doesn't he ask Mike (Nesbitt) to stand down, he lead (sic) the UUP into the worst election in their history.

"Arlene is the leader of unionism."

As the row raged, others criticised the relatively unknown Logan for not knowing who the war hero was.

Mr Logan also accused Mr Beattie of "running scared".

He said Mr Beattie was "the same man who ran out of the chamber on Monday, scared of hearing the truth".

"More interested in TV cameras & headlines."

The Ulster Unionist MLA's reply hit home: "Phillip... I was filling body bags when you were filling your nappy.

"Happy to talk about what being scared is."

However, Mr Beattie played down the online debate, saying it was merely a "bit of twitter jousting".

After receiving a few comments about how harsh he was being, Mr Logan replied: "He's a politician, who attacked my party. I will not fear attacking back."

Mr Beattie told the Belfast Telegraph: "There is no spat between us.

"He was commenting on a piece I had in the paper urging the good DUP MLAs to quietly have a word with Mrs Foster to convince her to stand aside while the RHI situation is investigated.

"I didn't want to get involved with the online debate but, when Mr Logan accused me of running scared, I wanted to put it in perspective of what being scared really meant. I made it clear that me filling body bags was not down to any action I had taken as well.

"The bottom line is that I know only too well about being scared and I wanted people to understand my background, to put some perspective on it all.

"It's all just been twitter jousting, but that comment soon put an end to the conversation, though."

In a later tweet Mr Beattie added some words from one of his books.

His tweet read: "For those in the DUP who accuse me of being scared... I can let them know what fear is."

Mr Logan suggested that "you talk away, we will get on with the job".

Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson joined in the row, tweeting in response: "And what a job you are doing #SIF #CharterNI #RHI #NAMA." All references to some of the big controversies which have engulfed the DUP in recent times.

Mr Beattie's tweets referred to a section from his book An Ordinary Soldier, which reads: "Fear. You won't hear soldiers talk about it. Fear is a taboo subject, a word suggesting weakness or worse, what they once would have called a lack of moral fibre."

Efforts to contact Mr Logan were unsuccessful yesterday.

However, he did tweet: "Been out tonight for my wife's Birthday.

"Came home to discover a timeline full of anti-DUP trolls - haven't heard much from them since May."

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