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Majority of Tory MPs oppose forcing abortion on Northern Ireland

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An overwhelming majority of MPs in Britain’s governing Conservative Party reject Westminster imposing permissive abortion laws on Northern Ireland.

A survey by ComRes found that 72 per cent of the party’s MPs oppose holding a House of Commons vote on legalising the practice in Northern Ireland, while only 9 per cent support the idea. The poll also found that 72 per cent thought it would be a “betrayal of devolution” for Westminster to impose abortion on the province.

ComRes interviewed 150 MPs between 1 and 28 March 2018, and weighted the data to be representative by party, region and length of service.

The results were released a day after a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said the government would leave the decision to a future Northern Irish Assembly.

“It is important to recognise that the people of Northern Ireland are entitled to their own process, which is run by locally elected politicians,” the spokesman said.

“Our focus is restoring a democratically accountable devolved government in Northern Ireland so that locally accountable politicians can make decisions on behalf of the public they represent.”

The Prime Minister came under pressure from a small group of MPs within her own party to impose abortion on Northern Ireland in the wake of the referendum in the Republic.

The Labour Party then joined the calls, however one of their MPs has warned against the move. Mary Glindon, MP for North Tyneside, said: “The fact is that Northern Ireland, is a devolved administration and this remains a devolved issue that has to be decided by Stormont.”

“When full democracy is returned to Stormont then, I have no doubt, after this historic vote in the Republic of Ireland, the matter will be raised in the Northern Irish Assembly,” she added. “But, taking any action on abortion rights will be a decision for the people of Northern Ireland, not for the UK Government, and, whatever our personal views on abortion, we must respect their right to exercise their devolved powers.”