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Jim Wells threatened to quit DUP unless re-appointment as Health Minister was offered

Published 27/10/2015

Jim Wells resigned as Health Minister in April following remarks alleged to have been made during an election hustings
Jim Wells resigned as Health Minister in April following remarks alleged to have been made during an election hustings

Former Health Minister Jim Wells threatened to resign from the DUP unless he was offered re-appointment as Health Minister, it has emerged.

In a strongly worded email to DUP official Richard Bullick last week, Mr Wells said he views himself as having three options - resigning from the DUP, being re-appointed as Health Minister or publicly declining the offer of re-appointment.

The South Down MLA resigned as Health Minister in April after he was caught up in a storm following remarks he was alleged to have made during an election hustings event ahead of the Westminster poll.

Earlier this month, the Public Prosecution Service said he would not be prosecuted for the comments.

Mr Wells recently described the last five months as “the most difficult” of his life and confirming he was taking a two week break to “recharge his batteries”.

He revealed to the Belfast Telegraph earlier this month that he has shielded his seriously ill wife Grace from the full extent of what he has been going through, and said she does not know he is not longer Health Minister.

This evening an email, which was inadvertently leaked to the media, reveals the full extent of his frustration with his party, the DUP.

He accused the party of not helping him to clear his name.

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“I am now to believe that I have lost the confidence of the Party Officers and as a result of this, the Press Officer team were either instructed or permitted to do every possible to prevent me clearing my name,” he wrote.

Mr Wells went on to claim that “despite the valiant attempts by the Press Office to thwart my efforts to clear my name, I believe that as a result of my own actions I have gone some way to achieve this”.

He said that his “vindication” would be almost completed if party leader Peter Robinson publicly offered him the opportunity to become Health Minister again, and he turned it down.

Neither the DUP nor Mr Wells have publicly commented on the contents of this email, which is dated Tuesday October 20.

Mr Wells has been an elected politician for the DUP since 1982 and has served as chair of the Health Committee and also Health Minister.

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