British Prime Minister Theresa May is under increasing pressure to impose abortion on Northern Ireland following the referendum result in the Republic.
Several female Conservative Party MPs used the result to demand a change in Ulster, which is currently under direct rule from Westminster. They were joined on Monday by Labour politicians including Baroness Chakrabarti, who urged the Prime Minister to prove her “feminist” credentials.
However, Britain’s Conservative minority government is being propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party’s 10 MPs. The Northern Irish Party is strongly pro-life and says it will not be “bullied” into accepting the change.
DUP MP Sammy Wilson told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: “I find it rather hypocritical. If there is going to be interference in the affairs of Northern Ireland then it needs to be done in the context of direct rule.
“But you can’t pick and choose what parts of direct rule you want, and if the Government wants to go down that line then the Government will have to make a decision that the Northern Ireland Assembly is not functioning and all the powers should be brought back to Westminster….
“But you can’t pick and choose when you decide which parts of the devolution settlements you want to leave with the administration and which parts you want to take back just because you don’t like the outcome.”
Pro-abortion MPs are expected to table an amendment to the upcoming Domestic Violence Bill that would force the measure on Northern Ireland, but there are doubts over whether they will be allowed to do so.
Abortion law is considered a devolved matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly. Although the assembly is currently suspended due to a political row, Westminster generally leaves devolved issues alone until the assembly is re-established.
If the DUP withdraws its support, there is a significant chance Theresa May’s government could collapse or lose a motion of no confidence.
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