The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Julian Smith MP, this morning confirmed that Northern Irish MLAs have received a combined salary of £14.9m since the assembly collapsed.
This means that MLAs in Sinn Féin, Alliance, and SDLP – the parties which made it impossible to stop Westminster imposing Europe’s most extreme abortion laws on Northern Ireland – still continue to receive their £35,888 annual salary. This was after it was cut from £49,000 per annum by the previous Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokensire MP.
Many concerns have been raised about the new abortion laws in Northern Ireland. Baroness O’Loan, whilst speaking in the House of Lords, quoted David Lock QC to say that a consequence of decriminalisation “may be the possible return of unregulated backstreet abortion”.
Lord MacKay, the former Lord Advocate and Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, also stated his opposition to the new abortion laws saying “I cannot think of a greater danger to the women of Northern Ireland than allowing unrestricted abortion again”.
Democratic Unionist Party MP, Jim Shannon, has also made it clear that “the majority of people in my constituency are very clear that they do not want liberalised abortion in Strangford or across Northern Ireland”.
The lack of action taken by Sinn Féin, Alliance, and SDLP MLAs, whilst they still received a paycheque from the taxpayer, meant that Westminster imposed abortion laws on Northern Ireland which the people of Northern Ireland do not want.
Lady Sylvia Hermon, the Independent Unionist MP – and the only non-DUP representative in the House of Commons – said it was “unsustainable and indefensible that MLAs continue to be paid their full salaries”.
Spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:
“It is indefensible that MLAs continue to be gratuitously paid for idly sitting back and allowing Westminster to impose Europe’s most extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, particularly those MLAs who claim to be pro-life or against the direct rule of the UK Government.
“It is unacceptable that this vast sum of money will be paid to MLAs who are meant to represent the people of Northern Ireland yet ignored them completely on the issue of abortion, something that the people of Northern Ireland did not want.
“This happened despite MLAs receiving the highest level of correspondence on a single issue ever, with tens of thousands of constituents asking them to form an executive so that the current safeguards for unborn babies would remain in place.
“Just last year a ComRes poll revealed that two-thirds of women and 70% of 18-34-year-olds in Northern Ireland did not want abortion laws imposed upon the province by Westminster.
“We continue to believe that both the lives of pregnant mothers and their unborn babies matter and will continue to be a voice for the voiceless in Northern Ireland and beyond, campaigning for progressive change that protects the right to life.”