Ex-Minister who claimed gays are ‘more likely’ to abuse children now faces sexism complaints
Northern Ireland’s former health minister is now facing complaints for sexism – less than a year after resigning for homophobia.
DUP minister Jim Wells, a strong opponent of LGBT rights, was forced to resign in May last year, after he claimed children of gay parents are more likely to be abused.
Mr Wells, who continues to sit in the country’s devolved assembly, has also branded Pride parades ‘repugnant’, refused to take part in LGBT rights debates, ignored scientific advice to keep a permanent ‘gay blood’ ban in place.
But despite losing his ministerial job over questions about his conduct, Mr Wells is facing yet more complaints this week after making “sexist” remarks.
During a sitting of the Assembly, a microphone picked up Mr Wells remarking of a female civil servant: “She reminds me of [party leader] Arlene Foster. She scared the wits out of me.
“I’m brilliant with women under the age of eight and great with those over the age of 80 – it’s the ones in between I can’t cope with, between eight to 80.”
Sinn Fein’s Megan Fearon was among those to challenge the comments, tweeting: “Sad thing is, I’m not at all surprised by Jim Wells disgusting comments. Not the first time he’s shown contempt for women #Its2016Jim”
Rather than apologise, Mr Wells appears to be taking legal action against those who took to social media to condemn him, confronting Ms Fearon in the chamber on the issue.
He said: “I told her that I would be issuing legal proceedings against her. She expressed surprise, but was not rude to me in any way.
“I was not rude to her and she walked out of the chamber. I am also suing several others.”
At least two complaints have been made to the Assembly Commissioner Douglas Bain, with Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson asking him “to see whether they represent a breach of the Assembly Code of conduct”.
Mr Wells could not be contacted for this article, as he appears to have blocked communications from PinkNews.