Nigel Dodds expelled from Commons chamber
- 10 July 2013
- From the section Northern Ireland
The DUP's Nigel Dodds has been expelled from the Commons chamber after accusing the Northern Ireland Secretary, Theresa Villiers, of "deliberate deception".
The North Belfast MP claimed she had been deceptive when answering questions about her powers in respect of a controversial Orange parade ruling.
Mr Dodds had asked what she was going to do about a Parades Commission decision to restrict a 12 July march.
The parade is due to pass a sectarian flashpoint in Ardoyne, north Belfast.
Mr Dodds, who is the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party at Westminster, was ordered to leave the chamber by the Speaker, John Bercow, for using unparliamentary language.
The DUP MP had first asked Ms Villiers about her response to the parade ruling during Northern Ireland Questions (NIQs) earlier on Wednesday.
Dissatisfied with her answer, Mr Dodds later raised the matter in a point of order.
He told the Commons he had asked Ms Villiers what she intended to do about what he called the "outrageous and scandalous decision of the Parades Commission last night in Northern Ireland, which is causing enormous pain and tensions to be rising in north Belfast and across the province and has the potential for severe trouble on our streets."
"In reply to my question, the secretary of state did not address the point of her powers on an application by the chief constable. I have to say Mr Speaker, in my view that was deliberately deceptive and I think that was absolutely outrageous and will not go down well in terms of the people back home.
"The secretary of state has the responsibility to do something about the outrageous decisions of the Parades Commission in Northern Ireland and unless she acts there will be difficulties ahead," Mr Dodds said.
The Speaker repeatedly asked Mr Dodds to withdraw his comments, which he said were unparliamentary.
Mr Bercow told Mr Dodds: "You must withdraw the words 'deliberately deceptive'.
"It is not appropriate to accuse any member of this House of seeking to deliberately deceive or mislead it. Please withdraw the words now."
However, Mr Dodds refused to do so, telling the Speaker that "reluctantly" he could not comply with his demand.
Mr Bercow then ordered him to leave the chamber for the remainder of the day's sitting.
In a statement, Ms Villiers said: "I have a high regard for Nigel Dodds. As the Member of Parliament for North Belfast his opinion on this matter is hugely important.
"I fully recognise the anger there is in parts of his constituency about this decision .
"Whatever people think of the determination, I hope they listen to the statement made by all five party leaders yesterday on the importance of complying with the Parades Commission and ensuring a peaceful parading season.
"The Parades Commission is a lawfully constituted authority and respect for the rule of law is vital. It would be incredibly damaging to Northern Ireland's image and reputation if scenes of violence blighted this year's 12 July parades," the Northern Ireland secretary added.
The north Belfast parade, planned for Friday, is one of hundreds of Orange Order parades due to take place across Northern Ireland as part of the annual Battle of the Boyne commemorations.
Some of the marches are controversial as they pass areas that are mainly nationalist.
The restricted parade is due to pass a sectarian interface at the Ardoyne shops on Belfast's Crumlin Road.
The Parades Commission ruled that the marchers can walk past the shops on Friday morning, but cannot hold a return parade through the area on Friday afternoon.
In recent years, the nationalist Ardoyne area has been the scene of serious rioting, with protesters clashing with police, in the aftermath of the return leg of the parade.
Mr Dodds is a former Stormont minister, MLA and Belfast city councillor and has been an elected representative of the DUP since 1985.
He has been the MP for North Belfast since 2001.