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Sammy Wilson runs into trouble with Speaker over remarks

By Noel McAdam

Sammy Wilson is facing a new probe over remarks in the Assembly.

Sinn Fein Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin had to bring the DUP MLA to order twice after he attacked the SDLP's Dolores Kelly as the "Ena Sharples" of the Assembly and renewed his criticism of Complaints Commissioner Douglas Bain.

Mr Wilson's double barb came as the DUP blocked a censure motion against him for his criticism on a committee of unionist arch-rival Jim Allister as a "thug".

The device prevented the motion from passing by requiring a majority of both unionists and nationalists. With 38 MLAs, the DUP is the only party which can trigger the 'petition of concern' and make it effective. Answering the charge, however, Mr Wilson attacked Mrs Kelly for bringing the complaint against him which Mr Allister confirmed he had known nothing about.

Mr Wilson said: "The Ena Sharples of the Assembly was happy to go running. She is maybe not so much 'the harridan in the hairnet' as 'the busybody on the Benches'.

"In fact, when I talked about this debate to one of her colleagues in Westminster who, rather unkindly, told me, 'Don't take her on; she's bigger than you'."

Mr McLaughlin intervened to caution Mr Wilson and said: "You are getting far too close to being very personal in your remarks. If that continues, I will have to stop you."

Belfast Telegraph


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