Northern Ireland: New Health Minister thinks Pride is ‘repugnant’

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Jim Wells, who thinks Pride is “totally repugnant”, has been appointed as Northern Ireland’s new Health Minister.

The DUP politician was appointed today in a reshuffle to replace Edwin Poots, who was branded a “disgrace” after he refused to lift the country’s blanket ban on gay men donating blood.

However, Mr Wells is unlikely to bring reform to the role – given he has previously claimed that gay pride was “repugnant”.

Mr Wells made the comments in 2011 when he was contacted by the secretary of Belfast Pride, to invite him to a debate.

He said: “I understand that you contacted my Kilkeel office regarding what is termed a ‘Belfast Pride’ debate.

“As you are probably know I find the behaviour of those who take part in this march totally repugnant.

“I do not therefore wish to be association in any way with this event.

“My position on this matter will not change in the future and I would politely suggest that any further requests of this nature will be a total waste of your time.”

Similar to Mr Poots he also opposes lifting the lifetime ban on men who have sex with men donating blood, despite the 2011 change in policy in England, Wales and Scotland.