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LGBT community should say sorry to me: DUP’s Jim Wells demands apology over ‘hurtful’ comments

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Jim Wells

Jim Wells

Kelvin Boyes Press Eye

Jim Wells

DUP MLA Jim Wells says he has nothing to apologise for to the LGBT community for, instead saying they should apologise to him.

Mr Wells said he had been subject to years of “hurtful” comments made towards him, which you could “paper a wall” with.

He also played down an apology from party colleague Paula Bradley, who he said was speaking “in her capacity as an MLA”.

The South Down MLA - who remains without the party whip having lost it three years ago for speaking out against the then party leadership – also argued the views of the DUP are “reflective of Northern Ireland”.

Mr Wells made the remarks after DUP deputy leader Paula Bradley described past comments around same-sex relationships by some in the party as “absolutely atrocious” during a Pink News event on Thursday.

Speaking on the BBC’s Nolan Show, Mr Wells said she was “speaking in her capacity as an MLA” - something he was challenged on by host Stephen Nolan.

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“We [the DUP] haven’t taken any policy decision on this issue,” said Mr Wells.

“What I would like to happen is for the LGBT lobby to apologise to me and to hundreds of others, who have been subjected to the most atrocious social media and public comment, because we have dared to stand for traditional marriage and traditional values.

“I could paper the wall with the most abusive horrible ghastly and indeed downright offensive comments that have been made against me including several that have been reported to the police.

“Certainly I have nothing to apologise about for any comments I have made in the past number of years on this issue. What I have had is the most scurrilous and hurtful comments made against me.

“By standing for the views of many hundreds of thousands of people in Northern Ireland on the traditional family values and marriage - that may cause hurt, but I am not going to apologise for that.”

On Friday, new DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said it was “right to apologise” over comments made in the past about the LGBT community.

The apologies by Mr Donaldson and Ms Bradley were welcomed by LGBT groups here, including The Rainbow Project, who said they hope the leader will meet with the group and other activists in the future.

Director John O’Doherty from the LGBT group said: “We welcome the apologies by Paula Bradley and Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and hope that these comments by their new leaders will be the first step towards significant change within the DUP.

“The Northern Ireland Assembly has consistently failed to ensure equality and equity for the LGBTQIA+ community and the DUP have been pointed to as the barrier to change.

“We are therefore, once again, seeking to establish a two-way respectful engagement with Democratic Unionist Party on these issues and more.

“We hope that Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, unlike his predecessors, will be the first DUP leader to meet with the LGBTQIA+ community and show leadership where is has been sadly lacking.”

Jim Wells, however, argued Sir Jeffrey Donaldson was speaking on a “more general level”.

“[Sir Jeffrey] was saying on a more general level if DUP members have said anything that has caused offense,” added Mr Wells.

“The vast majority of comments made by the public representatives of the DUP on this issue have been measured, they have been sensible and they have been reflective of the large number of views of people in Northern Ireland.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


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