DUP's Edwin Poots reported for ‘offensive’ Twitter comment

DUP MLA Edwin Poots and the tweet in question.
DUP MLA Edwin Poots and the tweet in question.

A Green Party MLA claims to have reported Edwin Poots to the Assembly Commissioner for Standards for comments he made on Twitter which she believes link the gay community with paedophilia.

In supporting TUV leader’s Jim Allisters stance on the Prince George ‘gay icon’ row, the DUP MLA said on Twitter, “making children an icon of sexuality today, paedophilia tomorrow”.

The Green Party launched a petition to call for action against the former health minister following the comments on social media last Thursday.

MLA Clare Bailey said a “huge response” of 5,000 signatures showed the level of offence Mr Poots had caused and prompted her to take formal action.

The South Belfast MLA said: “To associate the LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual Queer/Questioning) community with paedophilia is grossly offensive and in my mind is a clear breach of the Assembly Code of Conduct.”

She added: “We all are painfully aware that the Assembly is not functioning at present. However, the political paralysis should not mean that MLAs can spew out hateful comments without challenge.”

Douglas Bain, the Assembly Commissioner for Standards, was unable to confirm if the complaint had been received.

He said: “The law prohibits me from confirming or denying that a complaint against a particular MLA has been received or from disclosing any information on any complaint under investigation.

“All admissible complaints I receive are investigated thoroughly. To be admissible a complaint must be made within six months from the date when a complaint about the alleged conduct could reasonably have been made.”

Mr Poots was called on several occasions and messages were left offering him the chance to reply to the Green Party MLA’s statement. He had not returned our calls at the time of going to press.

We spoke with the DUP press office about the matter but they also had not given a response at the time of going to print.