DUP’s Wilson guilty of breaking assembly’s code

TUVs Jim Allister
TUVs Jim Allister

The DUP’s Sammy Wilson has said he will not be apologising for calling another MLA a “thug”.

Mr Wilson has been found guilty of breaking the assembly’s code of conduct following his remark, the BBC has learned.

He made the remark to TUV leader Jim Allister at the social development committee last year.

Members were investigating allegations of political interference in the running of the Housing Executive.

Mr Wilson had objected to Mr Allister’s questioning of DUP special adviser Stephen Brimstone.

The committee was adjourned, and SDLP member Dolores Kelly subsequently complained to the Assembly’s Commissioner for Standards and Privileges Douglas Bain.

He has found that the “thug” remark contravened the respect principle set out in the MLAs code, saying it was an “unreasonable and excessive personal attack” on Mr Allister.

Mr Wilson said he would not be apologising as it would be a “hypocritical apology”.

‘Political witch hunt’

“I’m not sorry for what I said, I believe that in the context in which I said it, it was correct,” he said.

“He was being used by Sinn Féin to launch attacks on members of my own party in what I believe was an inquiry which was little short of a political witch hunt.

“I, in my characteristic way, attacked Jim Allister for it and I’m not sorry for it. I’ll not apologise for it and I’ll take the consequences of it.”

The committee for standards and privileges agreed with the finding, but it rejected the commissioner’s assertion that Mr Wilson’s behaviour brought the assembly into disrepute.

A censure motion against Mr Wilson is due to be debated in the assembly next Tuesday.

However, three other charges against him arising out of the incident were not upheld.