Two leading members of the Democratic Unionist Party have come out in defence of their colleague Iris Robinson.

Mrs Robinson, the MP for Strangford, was at the centre of a new controversy yesterday when the Belfast Telegraph revealed she had likened child abuse to homosexuality during a Commons committee proceeding.

Sammy Wilson, an MP and Northern Ireland’s environment minister, said on the BBC this morning that his colleague is being harassed by the media and is entitled to express her views.

“We believe Christian values should be upheld in our society,” he said.

Gregory Campbell MP also claimed the media is picking on Mrs Robinson.

“Whatever you say about the gay rights camp, they do have rights and they are protected in law,” he told the Londonderry Sentinel.

“I and my colleagues are in favour of upholding the law. Homosexuals have rights and so do heterosexuals.

“One of our rights is to say that they are wrong. I view that as an inalienable right.

“If there is a campaign I would suggest it is not Iris Robinson’s but of those who seek to generate controversy regardless of who has made the comments or when.”

While the DUP back Mrs Robinson, a Sinn Fein member of the Northern Ireland Assembly has suggested she seek professional help.

“Iris seems to be constantly obsessed with the gay and lesbian community,” said Martina Anderson.

“I think she should seek a quiet moment to sit down and talk to somebody herself.

“She seems to be displaying all the characteristics of someone under severe pressure and she should take herself away and sort out her life.”

Mrs Robinson, who is married to Northern Ireland’s First Minister, sparked outrage earlier this year when she offered to put gay men in touch with a psychiatrist who claims he can make them straight.

More than 11,000 people have already signed a petition on the Downing St website asking the Prime Minister to reprimand Mrs Robinson.