Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Complaints on Iris gay row go to MP watchdog

Steven Colhoun brandishes a copy of yesterday's Belfast Telegraph during a protest outside Belfast City Hall

A Westminister watchdog has said that a number of complaints have been made about DUP MP Iris Robinson following her controversial comments on homosexuality, but admitted no action can be taken.

The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, the body that monitors MPs’ code of conduct, said that despite the complaints about the Strangford MP nothing can be done as “the commissioner’s remit does not cover an MP’s views or opinions”.

The same exemption extends to Stormont. Vice-chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee, Sinn Fein’s Willie Clarke, said it is “very frustrating that at every opportunity people can abuse the code of conduct and get around it by saying it is a personal view or a religious belief”.

Calls have been made for Mrs Robinson to resign from public office after the Belfast Telegraph revealed that she stated to a parliamentary committee that homosexuality is “viler” than child sex abuse.

During a Grand Committee debate in June on the management of sex offenders she stated: “There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality and sodomy, than sexually abusing innocent children”.

When asked to clarify her comments she told the Belfast Telegraph that homosexuality was “comparable” to child abuse.

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