Shortly before the end of the last Parliamentary session, I voted against approving the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021. These regulations, which unfortunately were approved by a majority of MPs, give the Government the power to compel the devolved Northern Ireland Executive to fully commission abortion services in Northern Ireland. This follows legislation and regulations in Westminster that liberalised abortion laws in Northern Ireland.
I have consistently voted against efforts in Westminster to liberalise abortion laws in Northern Ireland, and will continue to do so. After a lengthy hiatus, the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive are now both functioning, and it should be for them to decide, in accordance with the devolution settlement, what the abortion laws should be in Northern Ireland.
Last year, the Northern Ireland Assembly voted to tighten the abortion laws, and prevent abortions in cases of non-fatal disabilities. I believe this reflects the strength of feeling on this issue in Northern Ireland, and I believe Westminster should respect this, and allow Northern Ireland’s devolved institutions to decide these matters for the people of Northern Ireland.