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Macho Willie

Mark Devenport | 16:25 UK time, Monday, 4 June 2007

I've always thought of the Stormont Speaker, Willie Hay, as a gentle soul, but someone must have put something in his tea this morning. During the proceedings shortly after noon he swatted away an attempted point of order on Ian Paisley Jr's "gay" comments by the SDLP's Dolores Kelly. Similar short shrift was given to Alliance's Kieran McCarthy. Then when the Ulster Unionist David Burnside tried to make what his erstwhile colleague Jeffrey Donaldson described as a "supercilious" point about policing and justice, the Speaker weighed in by reminding Mr Burnside that he had been a member in another place (i.e Westminster) but for a shorter time than he has been a member at Stormont. This reference to Mr Burnside's defeat at the hands of Mr Hay's DUP colleague William McCrea came rather close to party politics, but the new macho Willie got away with it.

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