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Gay row unionist Jim Wells says his career was destroyed in just 30 seconds

By Noel McAdam

Jim Wells has spoken of how his political career was "destroyed" in 30 seconds.

The remarks came as the senior DUP MLA was due to attend another hustings event exactly a week after the one that led to his resignation as Health Minister - first revealed in the Belfast Telegraph.

"I am giving it (attending the meeting) serious consideration," he said yesterday. "I gave a commitment to be there several weeks ago."

However, with his wife still ill, it's understood he is unlikely to attend.

He also told his local newspaper he had been "pilloried" for something he did not say. "In 30 seconds, my political career has been destroyed by others."

Mr Wells remains the DUP's candidate in South Down and was due to appear with the other six candidates in Newcastle this evening. He will not be officially replaced as Health Minister until May 11, with many of his duties being carried out by Finance Minister Simon Hamilton.

It was at a hustings event in Downpatrick last Thursday when Mr Wells told the audience: "All evidence throughout the world says the best way to raise children is in a loving, stable, married relationship: the facts show that, the facts show that certainly you don't bring a child up in a homosexual relationship."

Amid uproar from the audience, he continued: "...a child is far more likely to be abused or neglected in a non-stable marriage situation, gay or straight."

He later added if a marriage breaks down, "that almost invariably (is) to the detriment of the child". Mr Wells yesterday told the Down Recorder that confusion had arisen over a "botched" statement which he had immediately corrected.

"I feel I have been misquoted and it is a very painful lesson. If the media had covered the fuller context of the story, while they may not have agreed with it, it may not have caused the situation to deteriorate as it has. I totally clarified it in seconds."

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