Stormont Speaker Edwin Poots has claimed TUV MLA Jim Allister was being “a little sensitive” over a remark he made around “cleaning his clock”.
It came after exchanges between Mr Poots and Mr Allister in the Assembly chamber on Saturday.
Mr Allister continued his opposition to the DUP’s deal with the UK Government over post-Brexit trading arrangements which allowed the Assembly to return, referring to a “day of glee and gloating for republicanism”, and accusing the DUP of a “seismic climbdown”.
He claimed DUP member Mr Poots had gone from “Mr Seismic”, in terms of calling last year for a “seismic” intervention from the Government over post-Brexit arrangements, “to Mr Speaker”.
In a media interview yesterday, Mr Poots said he could not respond to Mr Allister, adding “he certainly would have got his clock cleaned if I would have”.
While some have interpreted that comment as potentially violent, others have suggested it is a colloquial term for a sharp reprimand.
During today’s Assembly sitting Mr Allister raised the exchange, and said it was appropriate to do so, “given the dignity and expectations of your office”.
He went on: “How is it compatible for you to publicly vent your desire to clean my clock, which has the colloquial and indisputable meaning of indulging in physical violence. How is that compatible with the dignity of your office?”
Mr Poots responded: “I think the member is being a little sensitive.
“We were in a debating chamber and the reference was in the debating chamber. So Mr Allister, had I the opportunity to put you right, I would have put you right on that occasion but I didn’t have the opportunity to do that.
“No other connotation should be taken from it. That would be entirely disingenuous or misleading.
“So, that’s the situation.”