Northern Ireland

'Thug' insult row results in NI Assembly committee suspension

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Media captionSammy Wilson , a former government minister, called the TUV leader Jim Allister a "thug" during the hearing

A Northern Ireland Assembly committee hearing has been suspended after the TUV leader Jim Allister was called a "thug" by the DUP's Sammy Wilson.

Mr Wilson accused Mr Allister of "bullying" a witness - the special adviser Stephen Brimstone.

Mr Allister said he took exception to the remark and committee chairman Alex Maskey asked Mr Wilson to withdraw it

When he refused to do so and continued to make other remarks, Mr Maskey suspended the hearing.

'Crossed the line'

Mr Brimstone was giving evidence at the social development committee's inquiry into political interference in the Housing Executive.

The inquiry was set up following a BBC Spotlight investigation last year.

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly, who is also a member of the social development committee, criticised Mr Wilson for the remarks, saying he had "crossed the line".

"I will be referring this matter to the Assembly Standards Commissioner," she added.

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