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MPs vote to enact same-sex marriage and liberalise abortion laws in Northern Ireland

MPs in Westminster have today voted on amendments to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill. The bill surrounds keeping NI fully functioning in the absence of a functioning assembly at Stormont, which has not met since January 2017.

The amendments proposed in Westminster today were a same-sex marriage proposition outlined by Labour MP Conor McGinn, and an amendment surrounding extending abortion rights to Northern Ireland proposed by Labour MP Stella Creasy. Northern Ireland is the only jurisdiction within the UK without these social rights.

The amendment concerning same-sex marriage passed by 383 votes to 73, and a vote breakdown into the ayes and noes can be found here. Notable no votes come from 8 Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) members, with two party members acting as tellers for the no votes. The DUP have a regressive view on both same-sex marriage and abortion.

The Creasy amendment focused on liberalising abortion laws in NI - to bring it up to speed with the rest of the UK - and passed with a vote of 332 to 99. A vote breakdown can be accessed here. Both the McGinn and Creasy amendments propose that both same-sex marriage and abortion will come into law in NI if an Executive has not been formed by 21st October.

Although this caveat to the amendments is not perfect as if a government should be reformed by 21st October the laws may not come into effect, it is still a huge step forward for equal rights in Northern Ireland.

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