Jim Wells calls for DUP colleague to be disciplined over LGBT event

DUP MLA Jim Wells has called on the party to discipline fellow MLA Paula Bradley after she gave her backing to a controversial LGBT event at Stormont.

Wednesday, 8th August 2018, 10:00 am
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 2:54 am

It comes after a video emerged of a drag queen using profane language in Stormont’s Great Hall during last weekend’s Alternative Queer Ulster event.

The DUP has said Ms Bradley – who co-sponsored the event – has learned a “salient lesson”, adding that no one in the party will sponsor such an event in the future.

But in an extraordinary move, Mr Wells has accused his party colleague of bringing the DUP into disrepute and urged party officers to take action against her.

Paula Bradley has learned a salient lesson said the DUP

Footage of last Saturday night’s event shows drag queen Electra swearing loudly into the microphone during her speech.

At one point she shouts: “I am going to be ... queerer than queer and I f****** love it! ”

And at the end of the speech, she shouts: “Up the f****** queers” while punching the air, followed by rapturous applause from the audience.

Speaking to the News Letter, Mr Wells branded the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) event “vulgar” and said it was a “highly embarrassing episode” for the DUP.

The South Down MLA added: “It has gone down very badly with the grassroots and I think the party would accept that a ghastly error of judgment was made here.

“There are a lot of DUP supporters who are extremely uneasy and concerned that one of the party’s MLAs backed this event.

“It needed a sponsor from the unionist community and another from the nationalist community to go ahead, and if Mrs Bradley had withdrawn her support it wouldn’t have happened.

“Disciplinary action should be taken against her for sponsoring this disgraceful event.”

Mr Wells, who had the party whip withdrawn following stinging criticism of the leadership, said the use of profanities at Stormont is “not tolerable”.

He added: “It is not Las Vegas, it is the seat of government in Northern Ireland.

“There has to be some standards of decency and those were breached at this event.”

Despite the event being co-sponsored by Ms Bradley and Sinn Fein’s Megan Fearon, no representatives from the two main political parties were among the sold-out crowd.

Of the 90 MLAs invited, only Green MLA and primary sponsor Clare Bailey, outgoing Green Party leader Steven Agnew, Alliance MLA John Blair and UUP MLA Mike Nesbitt attended.

In the wake of the controversy, the DUP has said no one from the party will act as a co-sponsor for such an event in the future.

The News Letter asked the party to clarify if this meant the DUP would not be sponsoring any LGBT events, to which it replied: “It is specific to Alternative Queer Ulster.”

In a statement, the party said comments made at the event were “disgraceful”, adding: “Paula Bradley co-sponsored the event without knowing many details about it. She was not acting on behalf of the party and has learned a salient lesson.”