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DUP refuse to comment on Wells' ministerial hopes

Former health minister Jim Wells is keen to return to his post
Seanín Graham

THE DUP has refused to comment on whether Assembly member Jim Wells will be disciplined over his criticism of the party.

A spokesman said on Friday night that the party "does not comment on internal matters" following the leaking of an email in which the former health minister said he did not feel he had adequate party support in relation to his controversial comments on same-sex couples.

The correspondence, which was given to the BBC, also revealed the South Down Assembly member threatened to resign from the party unless a number of options were put forward - including his reinstatement as health minister.

Mr Wells quit the high-profile post in April, saying that he wanted to help his seriously ill wife "during her fight for life".

The resignation followed his remarks at a hustings where he linked same-sex relationships to child abuse. He later apologised for those comments.

The Irish News asked the DUP about the likelihood of Mr Wells taking up his health minister portfolio again after the Public Prosecution Service said they would not proceed with legal action over his comments.

Again, the party press office declined to comment.

Mr Wells has repeatedly said that his comments about children of same-sex couples being at greater risk of neglect were taken “out of context”.

He has also said that his time as health minister was among the "happiest" of his career.

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