Belfast Telegraph

Jim Wells cuts ties with National Trust over gay pride issues

By Michael Sheils McNamee

DUP representative Jim Wells has severed his long-term affiliation with the National Trust over a number of issues connected to gay pride.

Making his announcement through social media platform Twitter yesterday, the South Down MLA said:

"I worked for the National Trust for a decade and have been a member for 19 years. I have resigned and will now support other charities."

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Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Wells explained that up until his election to Stormont in 1998 he had worked in the regional office of the National Trust for 10 years. After leaving the Trust he then became a member - something he would not have been able to do while still an employee.

"I think the National Trust did excellent work throughout the United Kingdom in the protection of property, coastline and gardens. I would have been a great supporter of the work that the Trust did," he said.

Mr Wells explained that there were three reasons for severing his affiliation with the National Trust: an article recently published in the National Trust magazine that focused on LGBTQ issues; recent controversy around volunteers at Fellbrigg Hall in Norfolk being made to wear sexual equality badges; and representation of the National Trust at Saturday's Belfast Pride parade.

In a statement, he said that the organisation would be "very wise to keep out of controversial social issues which have little of anything to do with its main objectives".

The National Trust has been contacted for comment.

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