N. Ireland Politics

Dispute over timing of Castlereagh by-election 'closed'

Jim Allister
Image caption Mr Allister has made clear he did not intend to question the integrity of Mr Bain

The chief Electoral Officer Douglas Bain says he now regards a dispute between himself and the TUV leader Jim Allister "to be closed".

The dispute was over the timing of a by-election.

Mr Allister has made clear on his website that he did not intend to question the integrity of Mr Bain or of the Electoral Office.

The by-election was to fill the seat on Castlereagh Council left vacant by the resignation of Iris Robinson.

In statements, Mr Allister alleged the DUP was anxious to delay the poll until the General Election.

In one he called on the chief electoral officer to get on with fixing an early date saying he should be "immune from pressure".

As reported by the BBC at the time, Mr Bain wrote to Mr Allister giving him ten days to, in his words, "correct the completely erroneous imputations."

Mr Allister wrote back to Mr Bain saying that at no time did he seek to question the integrity of the electoral office.

Mr Bain replied saying that if by 20 May Mr Allister was prepared to make clear these sentiments on his website he would regard the matter as at an end.

If not the chief electoral oficer said he would have to consider his legal rights and decide how they could be vindicated.

A statement subsequently appeared on Mr Allister's website and Mr Bain said he is now content to regard the matter as closed.

The chief electoral officer said: "I welcome Mr Allister's confirmation that at no time did he seek to question the integrity my office.

"I am now content to regard the matter as closed".