Scottish MP who opposed NI abortion amendment receives hundreds of abusive messages and fears deselection

An MP for the Scottish National Party, Lisa Cameron, is concerned she will be deselected by her party after voting against an amendment which would force abortion on Northern Ireland.

The abortion amendment was attached to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill and 332 MPs voted in favour of undermining the sovereignty of Northern Ireland, by usurping its devolved powers to impose abortion law from Westminster.

Scotland has its own devolved powers so the SNP typically make a point of abstaining on matters which relate to the devolved powers of other regions in the UK.

However, in an unusual move, the party abandoned its own principles and allowed a vote for its members on these amendments. Now, SNP MPs who voted in favour of Northern Ireland retaining its devolved abortion powers, are concerned they will lose their position in the party.

Lisa Cameron MP said her office had received more than 900 messages, including “abuse” and “cyberbullying” after she voted against the amendment.

She said she had informed the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, but had not yet received any response from the SNP leader.

Dr Cameron and her party colleague, Peter Grant, both voted against undermining devolution and forcing abortion on Northern Ireland. 

While the matter was a free vote, for individuals to decide how to vote in line with their own conscience, Nicola Sturgeon made clear that she supported abortion.

Dr Cameron fears she will be stopped from standing again for the seat she first won in 2015.

Cameron said: “It was a free vote, a conscience vote. I didn’t rebel or vote against the party whip. And yet now it’s virtually certain that abusive party activists will make sure I’m deselected and lose the job I love.”

The MP added: “The attacks on me have been nothing less than vitriolic. One individual threatened to come over and ‘abort me’.”

“But I am sad to say that I have as yet received no response. I hope I will receive support from the party hierarchy soon. I’m getting all this abuse but no one in the party will call out the abusers. In a few short days, my life has been turned on its head and it looks like I will be ousted. The situation is very serious.”

She has also written to SNP MP Patrick Grady, who is the party’s chief whip at Westminster, who confirmed to her “a free vote was in place in order that members could vote with their conscience, and that the reason conscience votes exist is for areas where there can’t be a defined party policy”.

Northern Ireland continues to have strong legal protections for unborn babies and 100,00 people are now alive in the region because the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply there.

Clare McCarthy from Right To Life UK said:

“It is disgraceful that this MP should receive such abuse for voting in favour of keeping normal democratic processes in Northern Ireland and respecting devolution.”

“If she is deselected from the SNP, it not only shows how far the party has completely bought into the abortion ideology, but also raises questions about what exactly the point of a free vote is. A vote is hardly ‘free’ if voting the ‘wrong’ way gets you kicked out of the party.”