David Ford MLA said: “I would like to congratulate Simon Hamilton on his appointment and wish him well during his term in office. However, if he wants to be judged differently to his two predecessors, it is vital that he brings a change in attitude to the Health Department.
“During his first week in office, he can immediately bring an end to his Department’s legal challenge on the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood and indicate his support for adoption by civil partners.
“It is clear that Jim Wells’ comments aren’t an isolated view within the DUP. We have seen DUP representatives wanting to criminalise homosexuality, blaming Hurricane Katrina on gay people and stating that homosexuality is viler than child abuse.
“Bringing in a new face will be meaningless if Simon Hamilton just continues with the same attitudes as his predecessors.”