This evening the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill, is coming forward to the House of Lords.
Amendment 10 has been tabled by Lord Adonis and seeks to severely worsen the impact of Clause 4 which was added by Labour MP Stella Creasy in the Commons. It gives the Secretary of State powers to direct civil servants in Northern Ireland not to enforce sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act (OAPA) 1861.
Whilst the amendment does not change the law, it effectively renders the law null and void if it is unenforced. This could effectively permit abortion in Northern Ireland on any basis up to 28 weeks gestation, imposing the most extreme abortion regime in the British Isles to the region. If this amendment is put to a division by the mover, I would ask that you vote against it.
Amendment 16 has been tabled by Lord Mackay and Baroness O’Loan and seeks to make clear (because of the effect of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998) that guidance cannot contradict current law. Amendment 16 would rectify this “over-reaching” aspect of Clause 4 of the Bill and would bring it back in line with the rule of law. If this amendment is put to a division by the mover, I would ask that you vote in support of it.
We will be live tweeting the debate in the Lords on twitter here.