Belfast Telegraph

Wells bars DUP pair from his social media sites over LGBT vote

Jim Wells
Jim Wells

By David Young

Former Stormont minister Jim Wells has blocked two DUP party colleagues from viewing his Twitter and Facebook posts — because of their support for LGBT issues on North Down and Ards Council.

The South Down MLA confirmed he’d blocked DUP councillors Tom Smith and Alistair Cathcart from his social media channels.

A motion to light up the civic building in Conway Square, Newtownards, in rainbow colours on May 13 to mark the start of LGBT Awareness Week was passed by 19 votes to 18 in December. Two DUP councillors, Tom Smith and Alastair Cathcart, broke ranks to ensure the motion passed.

Yesterday, Mr Smith revealed that he had been blocked by Mr Wells. He tweeted: “Don’t remember ever even talking to the guy let alone sending him a tweet, but for some reason ...”

Last night former health minister Mr Wells hit out at Mr Smith, confirming he had blocked him on social media outlets.

“I certainly have. I hope he will soon be an ex-DUP councillor,” he said.

“He has twice voted against party policy, to allow LGBT colours to be lit up on council property.

“In fact his vote, and another DUP councillor, Councillor Cathcart, were the deciding votes.

“In other words, if him (Mr Smith) and Councillor Cathcart had not broken ranks, this would not have happened.

“So I certainly do not wish to listen to either councillor Cathcart or Councillor Smith on my personal Facebook and Twitter sites. These are personal sites, they are not party sites.”

Mr Wells continued: “I can decide who I want and who I don’t, and I certainly don’t wish to hear either Councillor Cathcart or Councillor Smith coming out with their pro-LGBT comments.”

While Mr Wells remains a DUP MLA and party member, he himself has had the party whip suspended from him for the past 10 months.

The DUP withdrew the whip from the veteran politician early last year over his outspoken criticism of the party leadership, accusing it of “hanging him out to dry” over his conservative views.

Mr Cathcart declined to respond to Mr Wells’s comments.

Both Mr Smith and the DUP have yet to respond to Mr Wells’ remarks.

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