Nick Clegg savages ‘unpleasant’ DUP over comments linking gay parents and child abuse

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Nick Clegg has hit out at Northern Ireland’s DUP – after the party’s Health Minister blamed gay parents for child abuse.

Jim Wells – who is a senior minister for the governing Democratic Unionist Party, made the anti-gay comments during a hustings in South Downs.

Rallying against same-sex marriage and adoption, he said: “The facts show that certainly you don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship… that a child is far more likely to be abused or neglected.”

He initially refused to apologise for his comments – but later said in a statement: “I regret having wrongly made that remark about abuse and I’m sorry those words were uttered.”

DUP leader Peter Robinson declined to sack the minister, claiming that Mr Wells was just having a bad day because his wife was ill, despite a series of previous overtly homophobic remarks.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg – who has warned against a potential right-wing coalition between the Tories, UKIP and the DUP – told the BBC the comments “lifted the lid” on the party’s views.

He said: “Those comments have lifted the lid on some really unpleasant views. The mask has slipped.

“I’ve been warning for weeks that while, of course, we should be alarmed about the prospects of Ed Miliband dancing to the tune of Alex Salmond, we should be equally alarmed at the prospect of a hapless David Cameron, minority Conservative administration, dancing to the tune of Nigel Farage, the right wing of his own party and some of these truly, truly, backward looking views from the DUP.”

Police in Northern Ireland also say they are making inquiries into the comments, after complaints were made about hate speech.

DUP leader Peter Robinson has still not taken action.

Presumably, Mr Wells was also having a bad day when he previously claimed that he finds Pride “repugnant” and refused to take part in gay rights debates.

Mr Wells must have also been having a particularly awful week when he blocked PinkNews and a number of PinkNews reporters on Twitter for reporting on his poor gay rights record.