Tatchell says Iris Robinson is a ‘hypocrite’

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Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has accused Northern Ireland MP Iris Robinson of being a hypocrite for having an affair.

Tatchell expressed sympathy over her suicide attempt and mental breakdown but said she had offered no apology for her comments about gay people.

Robinson, an evangelical Christian, caused widespread anger in 2008 after a series of offensive comments about homosexuality.

She released a statement yesterday admitting she had cheated on her husband of 40 years, Northern Ireland’s first minister Peter Robinson.

She said she was “completely ashamed and deeply embarrassed” over the affair and added she had attempted to commit suicide on the night her husband found out.

Last month, she announced she was standing down from her job as MP for Strangford due to ill mental health.

Tatchell said: “I’m sorry for the pain that Iris Robinson has suffered but she’s a hypocrite.

“Even now, despite her own adultery, she expresses no regret for her harsh, judgemental moralising against gay people. She is sad and two-faced.”

In 2008, Robinson said homosexuality was comparable to paedophilia. She also called gays an “abomination” and said they could be cured.

She made the comments shortly after a gay man was severely beaten in a homophobic attack in Northern Ireland.

Robinson escaped a police prosecution for her remarks, despite groups such as Amnesty International calling for action against her.

Tatchell added: “It is terrible that Iris Robinson has been driven to attempted suicide and a mental breakdown. I feel very sorry for her.

“But it is a great pity that this painful experience has not softened her heart towards the suffering of lesbians and gay men.

“Even now, she expresses no regret for her harsh, judgemental moralising against gay people. Iris seems as unforgiving as ever. She’s still unrepentant about her homophobia.”

Her husband Peter Robinson returned to work today.

He told journalists yesterday he had been “devastated” by news of the affair and asked for privacy to save his marriage.