WELLS: I should still be a Minister

WELLS: I should still be a Minister

15 July 2015

FORMER Health Minister Jim Wells has spoken for the first time since being forced to resign over the controversy surrounding his same sex marriage comments three months ago.

The South Down DUP Assemblyman spoke to the Recorder after being interviewed by police on Wednesday about the comments he made during a hustings event in Downpatrick in April.

Mr Wells sparked uproar when he appeared to suggest that children raised by gay parents were more likely to be abused. A tran published after his resignation showed he had actually claimed children in any unstable families “gay or straight” were likely to be abused.

Three days after the hustings event Mr Wells became involved in an argument with a lesbian couple in Rathfriland which attracted additional media attention and forced him to step down.

Mr Wells says it has been very hard to cope with losing his job and says the incident will “have ramifications for the rest of my life.”

But the former Minister is adamant he should not have had to resign as Health Minister because of “something I did not say.”

He firmly pins the blame for his resignation on people in the audience who recorded his comments and then posted edited highlights online. 

“Had those videos not been posted on line I would still be Health Minister, I am in no doubt about that,” he said.

He accepted that political bloggers, who also attended the meeting, misrepresented his comments leading to a twitter storm which engulfed him in the days after the Downpatrick event.

“But it was the videos that did the damage. They showed the audience reacting to what they thought I had said but did not show my later clarifications which clearly outlined my position.

“I accept that what I initially said was clumsy but the publicatication of the full transcript shows it was not the awful thing people had thought I said.

“That has left me with a huge sense of injustice, that I have been forced out of my job because of something I never said. My career collapsed for something I did not do.”

Mr Wells said attending the hustings event was the biggest mistake he had made in 35 years in politics.