PM fails to give assurance on abortion in Northern Ireland

Gordon Brown has refused to promise that the Government will oppose any “backdoor” attempt to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland.

Instead, the Prime Minister said it was up to MPs to decide and he didn’t think they would want to change the law in the Province.

Mr Brown was responding to a question from Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Ian Paisley.

The Prime Minister was asked to give assurance that the Government would not support attempts to use the embryology Bill to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland.

Revd Paisley reminded the Prime Minister of the cross-party opposition to such a move, which he said was a decision to be made “by Stormont and by Stormont alone.”

Mr Brown replied: “The matter of an amendment on abortion to the embryology bill is a matter for this House.

“I do not believe the House will wish to change its mind on these issues but it is a matter of a free vote of the House of Commons.”

In July last year the Government stated that it has “no plans to amend the law on abortion in Northern Ireland. We believe the best forum for discussion of these questions is the Northern Ireland Assembly, once it has assumed responsibility for the criminal law.”

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