NewsNorthern Ireland

Jim Wells resigns as health minister

Northern IrelandBy Jamie McDowell
DUP health minister Jim Wells
DUP health minister Jim Wells

The DUP's Jim Wells has stood down as health minister.

It follows comments he made last week at a hustings linking same-sex marriage with child abuse.

But Mr Wells says the reason for his stepping down is so he can look after his wife, who recently suffered two successive strokes.

In a statement to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Wells said: "As many people are aware I have been focused on helping my wife during her fight for life.

"Those who know my family and I, know the last three months have been the toughest of our lives as we watched my wife, Grace, suffer two successive strokes and battle through major heart surgery.

"However, as she now faces further challenges I have come to the point where I am no longer able to continue my ministerial duties and give Grace the attention she deserves."

On Saturday evening the PSNI confirmed that they had received three complaints regarding an individual in Rathfriland, County Down.

Mr Wells had allegedly called to the home of a lesbian couple and made comments that were critical of same-sex relationships which upset the women and one of the womens' daughter.