TUV leader barred from speaking in North's Assembly for three days

ireland
Tuv Leader Barred From Speaking In North's Assembly For Three Days Tuv Leader Barred From Speaking In North's Assembly For Three Days
Jim Allister, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Rebecca Black, PA

Traditional Unionist Voice party leader Jim Allister has been barred from speaking in the  North's Assembly for three days.

The sanction was handed down by Speaker Alex Maskey at the start of Tuesday’s plenary session for “aggressive remarks”.

Mr Allister is not permitted to speak in the chamber for three sitting days, which started from Tuesday.

It comes after Mr Allister on Monday accused Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon for behaving like a “little Irelander” in opposing a bridge to Scotland.

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Ms Mallon rejected the claim.

Mr Maskey also said that Mr Allister had used a point of order to query a decision against allowing a centenary stone to mark the landmark year for Northern Ireland.

 

He said Assembly Commission questions on Tuesday would have been an opportunity to raise the matter.

“When I called Mr Allister to order, he continued to seek to shout over the chair from a sedentary position,” he told MLAs.

“I have been concerned about Mr Allister’s behaviour on a number of recent occasions, he has made ill-tempered remarks including to the Infrastructure Minister yesterday, and has been aggressive in commenting from a seated position while other members are speaking.

“The authority of the chair is something which we will always take seriously in this chamber and there is clear precedence for imposing a sanction when a member challenges the chair in a significant way.”

Mr Maskey added: “It has been some time since there has been a need to sanction a member in such a way, however yesterday was a clear example of unacceptable behaviour which cannot be ignored.

“Mr Allister will not be called to speak for three sitting days starting from this morning.”

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Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly Alex Maskey (NI Assembly/PA)

Mr Maskey also raised concern about the “overall standards of debate” on Monday, saying he realises there “are political tensions around at the moment”.

“Yesterday was an example of a discussion on which there were vastly different views across the Assembly and tensions were not helped by the way in which members on different sides of the house expressed those differences,” he said.

“There does need to be respect for different opinions, that also means that it is not necessary for members to express their own views in a way in which would be clearly inflammatory for other members.

“I hope that the sanction I have reluctantly imposed will act as a clear guide to all members of the need to adhere to standard of debate of good temper, moderation, courtesy and respect.”

Mr Allister attempted to make a point in response, but was reminded he had been sanctioned and could not have an intervention.

“I have determined a three-day suspension, I can add to that, don’t tempt me,” Mr Maskey said.

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