David Trimble's Ulster Unionist Party suspended three rebel MPs yesterday in the latest round of the internal battle between the leadership and dissidents in the ranks.
A party disciplinary committee, which was established on Thursday, took almost everyone by surprise by moving swiftly against the three, Jeffrey Donaldson, the Rev Martin Smyth and David Burnside.
The three announced on Monday that they were resigning the party whip at Westminster in a direct challenge to the leadership and policies of Mr Trimble.
He responded by setting up the disciplinary committee, which has called a hearing for mid-July and in the meantime suspended the MPs, who represent half of the party's Westminster representation.
Mr Donaldson said the Ulster Unionist Party had "stooped to an all-time low".Reuse content