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Three Welsh Tory MPs vote against UK Government rollout of abortion services in Northern Ireland

27 Apr 2021 2 minute read
Stephen Crabb, Virginia Crosbie, and David Jones. Pictures by Richard Townshend (CC BY 3.0).

Three Welsh Tory MPs were among those who voted against giving the UK Government the power to rollout abortion services in Northern Ireland.

The House of Commons formally approved regulations on Tuesday which enable Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis to take action.

MPs voted 431 to 89, majority 342, in favour of the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021.

However three Welsh Tory MPs – Virginia Crosbie, for Ynys Môn, Stephen Crabb, for Preseli Pembrokeshire, and David Jones, for Clwyd West – were among those who voted against.

Alun Cairns of the Vale of Glamorgan and Jamie Wallis of Bridgend did not vote. All other Welsh MPs, including the other Conservatives, and all Labour and Plaid Cymru MPs, voted for.

There was no time allocated for a debate ahead of the vote today so no reasons were given.

‘Not listened’

Responding to the vote, the DUP MP for Upper Bann Carla Lockhart said Parliament “has not listened” to the views of Northern Ireland, and of overruling devolution there.

“This vote ultimately legislates for the commissioning of abortion services in Northern Ireland,” Carla Lockhart said.

“It is a process that commenced when there was no functioning Assembly or Executive to take such decisions. That was the key rationale given at the time for why Parliament was taking action in an area which is a wholly devolved matter.

“We have seen clearly where other arguments claiming intervention was necessary because of international law have been demonstrated to be spurious. The CEDAW Committee report is not binding and does not constitute international obligations.

“Devolution has now been restored and there is already Private Members Legislation tabled at Stormont in relation to the abortion issue. The Northern Ireland Assembly is the place where such debates should happen and such decisions should be taken.

“The DUP has been consistent and united in our call to repeal Section 9 of the abortion legislation and allow this to be decided upon in Northern Ireland.

“This evening’s vote is a further signal that Parliament has not listened to the views from Northern Ireland and ultimately has not respected the devolution settlement. MPs from across the House should recognise the enormous damage this has caused and the message it has sent out about devolution in Northern Ireland.”

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