Theresa May is facing pressure to back fresh legislation on strict abortion laws in Northern Ireland in the wake of the overwhelming referendum result in the Republic of Ireland. However, Arlene Foster, the DUP leader has said that the result of Ireland’s abortion referendum has no impact on the law in Northern Ireland, saying the legislation governing abortion is a devolved matter. However, with currently no devolved administration in Stormont, the government could act to rewrite existing laws on the issue
Northern Ireland’s abortion law is considerably more restrictive than the law in the rest of the UK.
Arlene Foster’s Democratic Unionist Party currently props up Theresa May’s government, so changes to legislation could result in major political consequences.
Mrs Foster has said in a statement; “Friday’s referendum has no impact upon the law in Northern Ireland, but we obviously take note of issues impacting upon our nearest neighbour.”
“The legislation governing abortion is a devolved matter and it is for the Northern Ireland Assembly to debate and decide such issues.”
It is thought Theresa May will resist calls for changing the legislation. Following the referendum in the Republic of Ireland, she posted a message on Twitter saying: “The Irish referendum was an impressive show of democracy which delivered a clear and unambiguous result.”
“I congratulate the Irish people on their decision and all of #Together4Yes on their successful campaign.”
Labour MPs have described the laws in Northern Ireland as “unsustainable.”
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrats leader Sir Vince Cable has said: “The position in Northern Ireland is now highly anomalous and action will now have to be taken. Theresa May cannot remain silent on this issue.”
Do you think Theresa May should push through changes to legislation in Northern Ireland? Comment your thoughts.