DUP’s Dodds suspended from Commons (UTV)

DUP deputy leader and MP Nigel Dodds has been suspended from the House of Commons for “unparliamentary” behaviour.

The North Belfast MP, who is also the leader of the DUP’s Westminster group, was ordered to leave the chamber over remarks made about the Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

Mr Dodds claimed in a point of order that she had been “deliberately deceptive” in an answer given in the chamber on Wednesday.

Speaker John Bercow repeatedly asked him to retract the claim, but he refused.

Mr Dodds had asked Ms Villiers during Northern Ireland Questions about the Parades Commission’s decision not to allow a return Orange parade in the Ardoyne area on the Twelfth of July.

“In reply to my question, (she) did not address the point of her powers on an application by the chief constable,” Mr Dodds said.

“I have to say that in my view that was deliberately deceptive and I think that was absolutely outrageous and will not go down well in terms of people back home.

“(She) has a responsibility to do something about the outrageous decision of the Parades Commission in Northern Ireland and, unless she acts, there will be difficulties ahead.”

But Mr Bercow said he could not allow the remark about deliberate deception, as it was an inappropriate accusation to level at any member of the House.

“Can I please ask you – you have made your point – simply to take back those particular words,” the Speaker said.

Under parliamentary rules, it is forbidden for one MP to accuse another of deliberately lying.

But Mr Dodds refused to retract the claim and was subsequently suspended for the rest of the day.

Responding to Mr Dodds’ comments, Ms Villiers said: “I can fully appreciate the strength of the feeling of the member for north Belfast, given the involvement of his constituency in the events over the forthcoming weekend.

“He will appreciate from the conversation that he and I had that this morning that any powers I had to intervene and review the decision by the Parades Commission are only triggered as the result of application by the Chief Constable of the Police Service for Northern Ireland.

“I have not received such an application. If I did I would of course consider the exercise of my powers with the greatest care.”

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