The wife of the First Minister of Northern Ireland has caused controversy with her born-again Christian outlook on life.

Iris Robinson is MP for Strangford and chairs the Northern Ireland Assembly’s health committee.

Reacting to news that a man was viciously attacked because he is gay, she suggested that he should consider therapy to “cure” him of his homosexuality.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster today she condemned the attack on Stephen Scott but added:

“I have a very lovely psychiatrist who works with me in my offices and his Christian background is that he tries to help homosexuals trying to turn away from what they are engaged in.

“And I have met people who have turned around to become heterosexual.”

Mrs Robinson’s view of gay and lesbian people is well-known. Last month she castigated MPs in the House of Commons during debate on fertility treatments.

MPs decided to remove the requirement on doctors to consider the need for a father when assessing women for fertility treatments.

“Envisage, down the road, a child going to primary school and being collected by two females or two males, and the bullying and abuse to which those children will be exposed; or going into their parents’ bedroom, as is natural for a child to do, and finding two women or two men making love?” said Mrs Robinson.

Sinn Fein, who are in coalition government with Mrs Robinson’s DUP, warned against saying anything to enflame the situation.

Mr Scott, 27, was attacked by a gang of youths in Newtownabbey on Wednesday and suffered head and leg injuries. The police are calling the assault homophobic in nature.

Mrs Robinson, 58, made some memorable contributions to last month’s debate on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill:

“I stand by my faith and the word of God that man was created in the image of God and that woman was created from the rib of Adam to be his helpmeet and companion. That is the natural progression of procreation.

“The word of God says that procreation is through a man and a woman.

“We are moving mountains to facilitate immorality and to bring the rights of lesbians above all others in this country.

“It is a shame, and honourable Members ought to hang their heads in shame.”