[Updated] Queens academic taught a hard lesson at the hands of ‘that lot in the DUP’

This is odd. Well intentioned or not, a Queens academic has managed to get himself on the poor end of the argument over Maurice Morrow’s private members bill which contains a maximalist clause that would criminalise prostitution.

Rather ill-advisedly Dr Graham Ellison decided to lobby a Swedish witness, Gunilla Ekberg, an ex-special adviser with the Swedish Government, who had previously given evidence in favour of Lord Morrow’s bill.

The trouble is the email contained rather a lot of man playing rather than connecting with the ball. The Belfast Telegraph reports:

“Why have you hooked yourself up to that lot in the DUP? Have you any idea what they stand for in terms of social issues around women’s rights; women’s reproductive rights issues and so forth?

“In terms of gay and lesbian politics that I have an interest in, they are one of the most repressive and socially backward parties you could imagine.”

Mr Wells said in the email Dr Ellison, who admits writing it, used a swear word that he would not repeat in public.

But the email said: “Who knows how many gays and lesbian young people in Northern Ireland have committed suicide because of this bloody party.

“I could also remember not long ago, five or six years, that the party, i.e. the DUP, was claiming that rape within marriage was impossible. They are simply latching onto this idea about sex that it is grounded in biblical teaching and not in feminist theory.”

As we have noted there are very serious questions about the likely unintended consequences of Lord Morrow’s bill. Trying to leverage a liberal bias which whilst general across the establishment at home is a poor substitute for forensic analysis of the more glaring faults of the bill.

Update: Slugger understands that one DUP MLA has already contacted QUB to try and take the matter further with his employers. That ought to be watched and watched very carefully. The anti democratic reflex, it seems, is strong on both sides of the Castle.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty