Jim Wells resigns as Health Minister

The BBC are reporting that Jim Wells has resigned as health minister following his remarks at the canvassing event in South Down and a further bizarre episode whilst canvassing in Rathfriland.

Wells has issued a statement on the DUP website explaining the stress his wife’s illness has caused and explaining his resignation.

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  • Ernekid

    If he was stressed out by his wife’s illness why is he running for election in the first place?

    I’m glad he’s resigned. If you become the story in politics then it’s time to go. The question is who replaces him in the Health portfolio? Robinson is quickly running out of loyal Yes men from his party ranks to promote. Wells like Poots was mediocre at best, dangerously incompetent at worst. Is there any one from the ranks of the DUP who won’t make a complete balls of the job? Do the wonders of the d’Hondt mechanism mean that Wells has to be replaced by a DUP MLA?

  • chrisjones2

    The Times They Are A Changing. Time for tyhe DUP to enter the 21st Century on social policies.The community is years ahead of them

  • Martyn

    Yes the DUP get to choose Jim’s replacement. Will they try to restore NI’s international reputation by choosing someone with more progressive views? Can Peter Robinson find such a person within the in-group loyal to him? Will the more moderate wing of the DUP assert themselves at last?

  • Korhomme

    Did he fall or was he pushed?

  • Dan

    More farce from Stormont.
    If I was Robinson. I’d give the job to Paul Givan, just to get so many people’s knickers in a twist.

  • David Arnold

    Maybe just maybe this will make the DUP realise how out of step they are with the public. I personally know three people who are no longer voting DUP over this issue alone. Now that the border issue has been settled for the for seeable future, its no longer necessary for the electorate simply to to vote to keep themmuns out. Suddenly it’s OK to vote for a party while taking their actual policies and attitudes towards minorities into account. Personally I’d trust a DUP member to go to the shop for me but I’d never vote for one.

  • the rich get richer

    Jim’s behaviour is seeming more and more bizarre to ordinary people.

    Is this behaviour consistent with his previous behaviour.

    Is this behaviour consistent with his parties behaviour.

    Are his personal circumstances effecting his seemingly bizarre behaviour.

    We must sympathise with Jim Well’s personal circumstances.

  • chrisjones2

    someone with more progressive views?

    Where would they find that among the assembly gene pool?

  • chrisjones2

    Is this behaviour consistent with his previous behaviour.

    We don’t really know but we do know he has strong views on homosexuality

    Is this behaviour consistent with his parties behaviour.

    Yes – in spades

    Are his personal circumstances effecting his seemingly bizarre behaviour.

    Perhaps

    We must sympathise with Jim Well’s personal circumstances.

    Perhaps.But we are all accountable for our own actions

  • smcgiff

    Is he still standing in the GE?

  • Gerry Leddy

    Blaming his wifes illness for what is afterall an ongoing antigay DUP agenda is deplorable.

  • Granni Trixie

    I think that the significance of DUP putting off naming a replacement until 11 th May is that it gives Robinson time to assess the extent of damage done to election results. Interesting too that there is no talk of bringing back Pootsie to continue the DUP health “pathways”.

    Whilst ofcourse one has sympathy for Wells and his family situation I would ask him and his colleagues to reflect on the impact of their hatred of”gay lifestyle” not only on those they castigate but on their family circle. Why should people have to negotiate stigma for being who they are?

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    Tá Jim Wells éirithe as mar gheall ar raitis bhiogóideacha faoin bpobal aerach. Cad faoi na raitis faoin #Gaeilge ag a chairde @duponline? @igaeilge: Jim Wells resigns over his displays of anti gay bigotry. His mates in @duponline display such bigotry against #Gaeilge speakers all the time

  • Barneyt

    Dealing with personal issues does present challenges and at times you may bring this to “work”, however your point about his remarks and behaviour being on song with the DUP “in spades” is spot on. The LibDems said the mask had slipped. I concur with this to some degree in that the truth emerged, but I would not accuse the DUP of masking their beliefs on this and other controversial matters. It’s plain to see surely.

  • Ernekid

    If Gavin Robinson fails to beat Naomi Long, I reckon that Peter Robinson won’t be leader for much longer. We might see bigger changes than just Wells resigning. The battle for the DUP leadership will be pretty nasty.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Pushed because of the election.

    If there was no election Jim Wells would still be defiantly continuing in much the same way Edwin Poots did.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Robinson has already indicated that he will step down in or around the time of the next assembly election. If the DUP lose East Belfast his resignation might come sooner, but either way, Robinson’s days are already numbered.

    The next DUP leadership will almost certainly be Nigel Dodds as party leader, and leader of the Westminster group, and Arlene Foster as deputy leader and First Minister. They will not liberalise on homosexuality and so on, but they may seek to play it down and discourage members from talking about it.

  • Korhomme

    Thus explaining why he will resign on 11 May, after the election and when the coalition haggling is (perhaps) on-going; do the DUP still see themselves as ‘kingmakers’?

  • ruhah

    Progressive views is an interesting term to use. By what standard are you measuring progression? Surely the term could be used from either ‘side’ of this argument?

  • Biftergreenthumb

    ‘Progressive’ in a political context usually refers to movements that are trying to change things for the better based on reason rather than maintaining the status quo based on traditional values. The term is usual applied to liberals and socialist.
    There is nothing progressive about justifying bigotry with ancient religious views. It’s hard to see how the DUP could be considered progressive in this sense given their backward, religiously inspired, conservative social policies.

  • Robin Keogh

    Arlene foster needs to take the leadership if there is any hope of bringing the DUP forward.

  • kalista63

    Looking at thIs from a UK wide view, nothing has changed. Jim Wells should have been sacked as minister thus the stain is still on his party and the issue has put the spotlight on said party as a potential partner in a Westminster government.

    What’s more, we also have the Irish Time interview, which further spreads as if it were needed, stain.

  • Pete

    I don’t understand why people want Robinson to resign. He is actually one of the more moderate people in the DUP. His successor will be worse, in my opinion.

  • ruhah

    Good surmise of the history of the word and certainly true from many people’s perspective. However behind the polemic you’d still have to acknowledge that the social policies ‘imposed’ are desired by people who, from their perspective, believe them to be beneficial and progressive for Northern Irish society.

  • Robin Keogh

    Allowing people to live by their own conscience is progressive regardless of what their views are and conditional on those views not adversely affaceting others. Christian traditionalists and secularists can live side by side with mutual respect but neither should expect the law of the land to necessarrily reflect their particular standpoint over others. If Jim Wells had of said that he didnt approve of Gay relationships for religious reasons, we might have criticised him but it would have been unjust to call for his resignation. Equally, secularists that want the law to reflect thier rights to equality have no right to expect those with a different view to ditch their personal lifestyle choices and conform to something that they feel runs contrary to their reason. Christians can live their own private lives in faith with their beliefs regardless of the law of the land accomodating minorities. Using hurtful and /or incorrect stats to demonise another community is simply not acceptabe. The DUP can have their traditional views but they have to realise that those views can cause great hurt and terrible distress when they are used to justify discrimination. I hope this current controversy will serve as a learning curve for the DUP, live and let live.

  • Jim Nelson

    For people who consider Christian morals when voting for a candidate it’s not very straightforward to make your choice. The Bible talks about homosexuality being a sin against God and you need to decide how much you want government to protect God form that. (Although God doesn’t need our protection)
    The Bible definitely doesn’t say that homosexual couples would abuse their children; politicians who say that are bearing false witness (breaking the 10th commandment).
    As a Christian voter, I find it frustrating when Christian views are dismissed by politicians, but I’m even more frustrated when politicians present their own views as ‘Christian’.

  • puffen

    When Jim stood on that garden path on Saturday night he knew it was over, that he had overstepped the line, that explains his manic behaviour, to bring his wife into it is not very nice.

  • eireanne

    they may see themselves as “kingmakers” – Nobody else does https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/dup-kingmakers-dont-make-me-laugh/

    O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us. (O would some power the gift to give us to see ourselves as others see us.)

  • james

    I find it frustrating that Sinn Fein are not held to the same standards of decency.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Me too, James. But SF activists took a lot of time and trouble to learn marketing and PR talk in order to sound like normal people with progressive opinions to those in the outside world, those who cannot read between the lines for local subilties. At the very least SF politicians know how to cover for their gaffs in the media. I find it incredible that Adams, for example, has blustered his way through the Áine and Maíria disclosures without being ousted, but SFs PR skills are generally so professional he’s still moving forward despite the direct hits.

    The inability of most Unionists in any of the Union parties to empathise with world opinion (often even simply with any Liberal opinion), and to think twice before sounding off, may entertain and hold the faithful, but does the Unionist cause precious few favours with anyone else anywhere. I did recommend that someone in the UUP or DUP actually consulted someone really professional in London like Saatchi’s or Dave Trott, or even a second rate agency to create a user friendly image, with only half my tongue in my cheek, but no-one ever listens……

    For a moment they seemed to be ready to intelligently use really excellent assets they hold, such as Jeff Dudgeon, in the elections, and then…..

  • Sergiogiorgio

    I’d be happy if they drag themselves into the late 20th century and out of their weird, religious dark ages.

  • Korhomme
  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    That smacks of optimism but is it within the realm of the possible? The reality is that the DUP along with many other parties (all sectarian ones) have marched down a blind alley from which they can never back out (or be seen to). The DUP’s whole purpose is to stand on the spot and resist change while making a lot of offensive and inflammatory noises.

    Jim Wells’ behaviour exposes the DUPers for what they are: intolerant, dictatorial bigots. Now that he’s resigned which is what any other minister elsewhere would do, there appears to be a chink in their armour. And the light that is finally getting through to us is normality, decency, recognising that a mistake has been made, a gesture towards atonement as well as a nod towards respect for others. None of this has been visible from them or from the Sinners for that matter because intransigence pays. That chink in the armour might just be sufficient to collapse the whole edifice.
    If it does then we um … progressives can start believing in God again.

  • Surveyor

    I think an Irish equivalent to Godwin’s law is needed these days. “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Sinn Féin or Gerry Adams approaches”.

  • james

    Well, yes, there is a certain logic to the ugliest man in the room wanting to keep the lights low. Something I might also apply to the constant evasions of Jude Collins.

  • james

    didn’t go for “as soon as someone mentions Sinn Fein or Gerry Adams, they lose the argument by default”. Or indeed (what seems to be the de facto Republican line at present): “as soon as somebody mentions the veritable laundry list of crimes that Gerry has been accused of, they lose the argument by default”. Free speech not high on the Nationalist Socialist Manifesto priorty list?

  • sk

    do you not even have the decency to couch your whataboutery in a bit of tokenistic lip-service like a proper unionist?

  • Reader

    Ernekid: If he was stressed out by his wife’s illness why is he running for election in the first place?
    Because it’s a 6 week hopeless campaign in South Down and then it’s back to Assembly business.
    But 6 weeks turned out to be too long.

  • Reader

    Bittergreenthumb: The term is usual applied to liberals and socialist.
    Also – and this is not a coincidence – the term is usually applied by liberals and socialists.

  • james

    Yes, all unionists are bad. All unionists are ignorant ‘knuckle draggers’. I see very little point in your trying to engage me in any meangful dialogue if your mind is closed from the outset.

  • james

    I’d agree with that.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    Well I’m sure many religious fundamentalists think their values and social policies are beneficial but I doubt even the DUP would call their scripture based rationale for their views on homosexuality “progressive”.

    I think its useful to contrast “progressive”, which implies moving forward, the future etc, with “traditional”, which implies the past. Tradition and progress can both be beneficial but that doesn’t mean that social conservatives think of themselves and their views as ‘progressive’. Basing social policy on scripture wouldn’t be described as progressive even by people who see the value. Surely ‘traditional’ is a better term for conservative social policies?

  • Surveyor

    Well you said it “accused of”, a big difference to being found guilty of.

  • james

    Indeed.

  • Robin Keogh

    Does Jesus say anything about us gays?

  • Jim Nelson

    He didn’t say anything about gays, which means everything he said about people applies to everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation.
    If we consider the gay community as a group of people who have a different take on Old Testament laws to the religious mainstream, then Jesus attitude to the Samaritans would be quite relevant. His words and actions towards them are something that Christians should try to appreciate.
    My point is that we don’t need to agree with everyone to appreciate the positive role they have to play in our society. When we vote, let’s choose representatives who will speak for us and for people who aren’t exactly like us.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    His successors will probably be Dodds and Foster, who between them will be around about the same.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Talking about the DUP moving forward is like talking about a leopard becoming a vegetarian. It’s a contradiction in terms.