None of the five candidates who are standing to be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom have said they are in favour of directly undermining devolution and forcing abortion on the people of Northern Ireland.
There are strong pro-life protections in Northern Ireland where abortion remains a devolved issue. This means that the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply and there are 100,000 people alive today because of this. None of the leadership candidates have given any indication that they are in favour of directly undermining devolution in this area.
The Conservative leadership hopefuls were asked whether they would impose abortion on Northern Ireland from Westminster. Here’s what each candidate said:
Boris Johnson – did not respond to a request for comment.
Rory Stewart – A spokesperson said the “fundamental point is that Rory is passionately committed to women’s right to choose” but he “also believes that ideally devolved issues should be settled by devolved administrations.”
Michael Gove – a campaign source said: Michael’s preference is that we should have the same laws on such issues across the whole of the UK, but under the devolution settlement, changes in laws affecting Northern Ireland should be a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive.”
Sajid Javid – A source close to the minister said: “Saj recognises this is a devolved matter and we have to respect that.”
Jeremy Hunt – a spokesperson said:“This is a devolved issue and is yet another reason why we must get Stormont up and running again. Jeremy would support any changes locally accountable politicians wished to implement.”
Jeremy Hunt has made clear however that he would be supportive of a law to reduce the abortion limit from 24 weeks to 12 weeks.
Clare McCarthy of Right To Life UK said: “It is very good news that almost all of the Tory leadership hopefuls intend to respect devolution and would not impose abortion on Northern Ireland from Westminster.”
“Abortion is a devolved issue and it is not for Westminster to force extreme abortion laws onto the region. The most recent vote on this in 2016, showed that a clear majority of the Northern Ireland Assembly, upheld the law on abortion as it currently stands.
“There are 100,000 people alive in Northern Ireland today because Northern Ireland did not adopt Britain’s abortion law when it was introduced. Laws do make a difference.”
(Photo credit Adobe Stock:Pineapples)