Owen Jones: Britons should know that the DUP is ‘riddled with homophobic bigotry’

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Author and political commentator Owen Jones has accused the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), of being “riddled with homophobic bigotry”.

On BBC Radio 5Live’s Pienaar’s Politics programme on Sunday, Jones was featured alongside DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds.

Jones said: “We’ve had lost of scrutiny of a Labour government backed up by the SNP, but we certainly haven’t had scrutiny though of the DUP.

Referring to former DUP Health Minister Jim Wells, who stepped down last week after claiming that children who are raised by same-sex parents are “more likely” to be abused, Jones argued with Dodds, as the latter adamantly spoke over him.

He said: “Their health minister Jim wells had to a resign a few days ago after he said resign after saying that children brought up by same-sex parents are more likely to be abused or neglected, after which Dodds accused him of trying to “distract from the real issues.”

He then said: “The people of this country have an absolute right to scrutinise the policies of a party and the beliefs of a party which may well have huge amounts of influence over the next government. Iris Robinson the wife of the party leader said that homosexuality is ‘disgusting, loathsome, nauseating, wicked and vile.’

“You’ve tabled a bill which would permit discrimination against LGBT people by exempting those with religious beliefs,” he continued.

Concluding, Jones said: “Your party is riddled with homophobic bigotry and the people of this country have every right to understand that, because you will hold a huge amount of influence, potentially.”

Accusing Owen Jones of “going on a rant”, Dodds said the party was “against discrimination based on religion… or sexual orientation.”

He went on: “As far as the redefinition of marriage is concerned, 150 Tory MPs also voted against same-sex marriage”. He also said that the DUP does not attempt to influence “devolved matters” such as same-sex marriage.

“Owen Jones needs to realise that we take a progressive, modern approach to the House of Commons”, Dodds continued, saying: “His attempts to smear the DUP will not succeed.”

DUP founder Dr Ian Paisley launched the ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy’ campaign to lobby against the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1977. He died last year.

Prime Minister David Cameron has refused to rule out a coalition with the DUP.

This month, the DUP blocked same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland for a fourth time. The party continues to oppose equality for same-sex couples.