Election 2015 Northern Ireland

Lesbian couple would not accept apology after Jim Wells resignation

Jim Wells Image copyright PAcemaker press
Image caption Police had confirmed it received three complaints against an individual - understood to be the DUP's Jim Wells

A woman who complained to police about comments made by NI health minister Jim Wells to her lesbian partner has said she would still not accept an apology.

Mr Wells resigned on Monday saying he wanted to help his wife Grace "during her fight for life".

Police are investigating the incident which happened during an election canvas by Mr Wells in County Down.

"To me he was trying to say sorry for upsetting my partner, not what he said," the woman added.

She added: "Even if he was to try and apologise again, I don't think I would accept it let alone my partner because I don't understand what he wants to apologise for."

It is believed the Police Service of Northern Ireland is trying to establish if an offence has been committed with regard to the incident.

The woman, who says she is a DUP voter, was interviewed for BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme on Monday alongside her partner's daughter.

They wish to remain anonymous.

The women said they had a great deal of sympathy for Mr Wells and his wife however they felt the opinions he voiced were inappropriate for a public representative.

One of the women claimed Mr Wells, who was doing door-to-door canvassing in Rathfriland on Saturday, had called at their house, and during a conversation was critical of their lifestyle.

"He came over to the fence and he was smiling and he was talking and my partner had apparently said 'no I'm not voting for you because I have seen your views on the television and I am a lesbian'," she said.

"He said 'well I don't believe in your lifestyle choices'.

"And my partner explained they weren't choices, this was just the way she was."

"She went into the house and told me what had happened and was upset about the issue. I rang her daughter.

"My partner has mental health issues so she couldn't really comprehend what he was saying.

"He said to me he didn't like the lifestyle choices and it was wrong but that was all he said."

'Lifestyle choices'

Her partner's daughter said she then made contact with Mr Wells in the street after being told her mother was upset.

She said Mr Wells had said he thought her mother was joking but she had said "this is no joke".

"So he said 'what will happen if I go down and apologise to her?' I said 'I don't know you can go and try whatever'," she added.

She said Mr Wells mentioned lifestyle choices a number of times and was "adamant" he did not agree with "those lifestyle choices".

The woman's partner said Mr Wells had then called at their home in a bid to apologise.

"He came on to the property after being told a number of times he was not welcome and I ran out and guided him back down the path and said I told you not to be on this property," she said.

"And he said 'I really just want to apologise, if you won't take my apology can I not at least apologise to your partner's daughter, where does she live'."

The woman's daughter said Mr Wells had also called at her home.

She said Mr Wells was at her house "for about 10 minutes" but she did not answer.

"About 10 minutes he stood knocking and knocking and knocking," she added.

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

He is a Westminster candidate for the DUP in the South Down constituency.

The other candidates in South Down are Felicity Buchan of the Conservatives, Chris Hazzard of Sinn Féin, the UUP's Harold McKee, Henry Reilly of UKIP, the SDLP's Margaret Ritchie and Martyn Todd of the Alliance Party.

More on this story

Around the BBC