Former NI Health Minister denies homophobic comments

Former Northern Irish Health Minister Jim Wells has declared that he did not make any controversial comments on same-sex parents – and that he should still be in his position.

The senior member of the country’s DUP party has spoken out for the first time since his resignation – claiming recordings of the hustings event, were he is accused of having made the comments, are false.

After being interviewed by police last week, after “numerous complaints” were received from the public, he claims the recording at a public hustings event was “doctored” on a tape which was then released on social media.

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.”

However, Mr Wells now claims that he did not make these comments and feels he has been wrongly vilified.

“I accept that what I initially said was clumsy, but the publication of the full transcript shows it was not the awful thing people had thought I said,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“The full transcript shows that I did say I was opposed to gay marriage, which I am, but then I go on to make the argument that when marriages break up – in either a heterosexual or homosexual relationship – the children can be used in a very nasty and vicious way.”

“Essentially I resigned over remarks which it now turns out I did not say. My whole career in politics over 33 years came crashing down in 17 seconds.”

This contradicts Wells initial reaction following the outrage – when, after initially refused to apologise for his comments, insisting they were “misunderstood”, he soon released a statement attempting to take them back.

He said at the time: “I accept that one line of what I said caused offence and deep concern amongst members of the audience and beyond.

“I regret having wrongly made that remark about abuse and I’m sorry those words were uttered. The comment did not reflect my view nor that of my party.”

But within 48 hours of the event, more complaints were made by a lesbian couple in Rathfriland following different remarks Mr Wells allegedly made about their lifestyle choices while canvassing.

These are only the latest in a string of actively homophobic comments from the shamed ex Health Minister, who has previously claimed that he finds Pride “repugnant” and refused to take part in gay rights debates.

After PinkNews reported on his poor gay rights following his appointment, Mr Wells blocked PinkNews and a number of PinkNews reporters on Twitter.