THE UUP has stopped short of sacking MLA Basil McCrea.
Instead, an Ulster Unionist Party disciplinary panel has handed the Lagan Valley assembly member a formal warning.
It will now be up to Mr McCrea on whether to accept the punishment, appeal it, or resign.
The committee was investigating two complaints against the UUP MLA.
Mr McCrea lost the party whip in December when he publicly criticised the UUP’s handling of the controversy surrounding the union flag protests.
The other related to comments he made on the BBC Nolan Show.
In relation to that complaint, Mr McCrea was found guilty of indiscipline and of speaking in a manner that was detrimental to the party interest.
“The Disciplinary Committee of the Ulster Unionist Party has issued a formal warning to Basil McCrea MLA, following its consideration of two complaints against the Lagan Valley Assembly member,” the party said in a statement on Friday.
The UUP stopped short of expulsion or suspension.
“The Committee’s decision regarding sanctions was informed by the fact the Party Leader had already withdrawn the Assembly Group Whip from Mr McCrea,” the statement added.
The party said the unionist politician was found “guilty of indiscipline and of speaking in a manner that was detrimental to the Party interest” following remarks made during a radio interview.
Regarding the second complaint, referring to Mr McCrea’s comments in a local newspaper and on BBC Radio Ulster about a possible assembly commission consultation on the number of days that the union flag is flown, he was also found guilty “of a public attack on Party policy and consequently of a further act of indiscipline”.
“Mr McCrea has the right of appeal to the Party Officers of the Ulster Unionist Party,” the UUP statement added.
The committee said its decision regarding sanctions was informed by the fact party leader Mike Nesbitt had already withdrawn the assembly group whip from Mr McCrea.