N. Ireland Politics

Sammy Wilson and Douglas Bain dispute may lead to 'stand-in' watchdog

Standards Commissioner Douglas Bain and DUP MLA Sammy Wilson
Image caption It is understood Standards Commissioner Douglas Bain (left) was concerned about perceptions of bias after he received a new and unrelated complaint from the DUP's Sammy Wilson (right)

A dispute between Sammy Wilson and Stormont's standards watchdog is likely to result in a temporary appointment to deal with a new complaint from the MP.

It is understood Standards Commissioner Douglas Bain has indicated he does not feel able to handle the complaint, due to his previous dispute with Mr Wilson.

The dispute between the two men arose after Mr Bain ruled that Mr Wilson had broken Stormont's code of conduct when he called TUV leader Jim Allister a "thug" at an inquiry hearing in October 2014.

In response to the ruling, Mr Wilson made disparaging remarks about Mr Bain in a BBC interview.

Mr Bain then wrote to Mr Wilson, advising the DUP MP that he regarded those remarks as defamatory.

As a result, the Northern Ireland Assembly is to be asked to appoint a temporary replacement for Mr Bain, to investigate a fresh and unrelated complaint from Mr Wilson about the conduct of Sinn Féin MLAs.

It is understood Mr Wilson's complaint relates to the conduct of Sinn Féin's Máirtín Ó Muilleoir and Mr Daithí McKay during Stormont's inquiry into the sale of the Irish National Asset Management Agency's Northern Ireland property portfolio.

More on this story