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DUP want to silence me from speaking in Assembly – Allister

By Noel McAdam

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister has accused the DUP of attempting to silence him after being told he will not be called to speak in the Assembly next week.

The hardline unionist fell foul of the wrath of Stormont Speaker William Hay — a former colleague in the DUP — after telling him he was “doing your master’s bidding”.

An angry Mr Allister also shouted at Mr Hay: “Your peerage is safe” — and added: “This house is a disgrace to democracy.”

The spat with the Speaker began earlier as he set out arrangements for the speaking order in Assembly debates but said he would not take any questions.

“I wonder why,” said Mr Allister, and Mr Hay hit back: “Order. I warn the member that he is sailing very close to the wind in challenging the authority of the chair.”

Yesterday, Mr Allister suggested the DUP were trying to silence him, saying: “The DUP held an away day at Galgorm Manor during the summer and spent some time discussing me. So this is no coincidence.”

A DUP spokesperson said, however: “The party does not normally comment on internal business but, on this occasion, I can assure Jim that he was not the topic of our strategy development discussions.”

A spokesman for the Speaker said: “Under Standing Order 17, the Speaker has discretion over who to call in the chamber.”

Background

Speaker William Hay warned Jim Allister when the TUV leader aimed a joke at Martin McGuinness’s bid for the Irish Presidency. Mr Allister said he “was tempted to ask the First Minister whether it was something that he said or did in the United States that caused his partner, the deputy First Minister, to look for alternative employment”.

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