A Green Party MLA has submitted a formal complaint to the Assembly’s standards watchdog over a tweet by the DUP’s Edwin Poots in the wake of controversy over Prince George being branded a "gay icon".
Clare Bailey acted after a Green Party NI petition calling for Stormont’s Commissioner for Standards to investigate Mr Poots for posting the tweet received over 5,400 signatures in five days.
The online petition relates to a tweet posted by the Lagan Valley MLA last Friday, which stated: "Totally supporting Jim on this one, making children an icon of sexuality today, pedophilia (sic) tomorrow. Absolutely disgusting."
Mr Poots’ tweet contained a link to a letter from TUV leader Jim Allister to Benjamin Cohen, the chief executive of LGBT website PinkNews, which was published in the Belfast News Letter.
The letter condemned PinkNews for posting a picture of Prince George on a helicopter with his face in his hands, accompanied by the statement: "Prince George has become a gay icon overnight."
The Green Party NI petition, which had gathered over 5,400 signatures at the time of going to press, slammed Mr Poots’ response to the article.
It stated: "Mr Poots’s tweet, with its grossly offensive linking of the LGBTQ community with "pedophilia" (sic) is contrary to the Northern Ireland Assembly Code of Conduct.
"We therefore call upon the Commissioner for Standards to carry out a full investigation of these comments by Mr Poots."
Some of the Assembly’s ‘Principles of Conduct’ include equality, respect and promoting good relations.
In a statement, South Belfast MLA Ms Bailey said: "The huge response to the Green Party petition shows the level of offence caused by Edwin Poots’ comments.
"To associate the LGBTQ community with paedophilia is grossly offensive and in my mind is a clear breach of the Assembly Code of Conduct."
However, Mr Poots told the Belfast Telegraph that he didn’t accept his tweet linked homosexuality with paedophilia.
"The individuals who made a child a sexual icon did that, and that was what I was pointing out," he stated.