Latest News

British PM contenders rule out imposing abortion on Northern Ireland

British PM contender Boris Johnson with Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster (Getty)

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt said the decision should be left to the Northern Ireland Assembly

Both candidates for next British Prime Minister have said they oppose forcing abortion on Northern Ireland.

At a Conservative Party leadership hustings in Belfast, Boris Johnson, who is regarded as the frontrunner to replace Theresa May later this month, stated that the issue of abortion in Northern Ireland “is for the people of Northern Ireland and their politicians.”

“I hope the government of Northern Ireland can be resumed as soon as possible so this issue can be decided in the forum where it properly belongs,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s rival, Jeremy Hunt, also said: “This is a devolved matter and I think the best way to resolve this is to get the Assembly back up and running and to establish a consensus in the province so that we can go forward on these very difficult issues.”

Northern Ireland’s government has been suspended since 2017, when agreements between the two governing parties, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin, fell apart. Until the two sides can reach a new agreement, the province is directly ruled by the British parliament in Westminster.

Pro-abortion politicians in Westminster have been attempting to force abortion and same-sex marriage on Northern Ireland while its government is suspended, something ministers warn could seriously undermine the devolution settlement.

Currently, abortion in Northern Ireland is only legal if there is a risk of permanent and serious damage to the woman’s mental or physical health.