09/07/2019

MPs Set To Vote On Same-Sex Marriage

MPs in Westminster are set to vote this afternoon, 09 July, on whether or not to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

A debate on the matter came about as a bill to keep the region running in the absence of Stormont's devolved government advances through Parliament. This would extend government's legal capabilities to delay a fresh Stormont election until October at the earliest.

Negotiations aimed at restoring government are continuing but no deal has been reached as yet.

Backbench MPs grasped the opportunity to table amendments on other issues, including same-sex marriage and abortion laws.

Labour MP Conor McGinn forwarded a proposal that in the absence of agreement at Stormont, the UK government should legislate for same-sex marriage, a law that any future NI Assembly could overturn or amend.

The Speaker's Office chose the amendment for debate, giving way to four hours of political discussion on the matter.
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A push for the liberalisation of abortion laws was tabled by Labour's Stella Creasy and is also scheduled for voting later this afternoon.

The Scottish National Party (SNP), which typically abstains on devolved matters, is to join the vote on same-sex marriage and abortion. The party's Westminster Leader, Ian Blackford MP, confirmed on Twitter that he will vote in favour of the amendments submitted by Mr McGinn and Mr Creasy.

He wrote: "For those asking, I strongly support equal marriage and women's right to choose on abortion.

"I'm very proud that the SNP Government introduced the UK's most progressive equal marriage law and that Scotland is the only part of the UK where couples from Northern Ireland can convert their civil partnership to a same-sex marriage."

He added: "While the SNP will always defend the principle of devolution, there are a specific set of circumstances in Northern Ireland where there has been no functioning assembly for an extended period.

"In these circumstances, we believe it is right to give MPs a vote on these important human rights issues.

"If the amendments are called to a vote, I will be voting in favour."



(JG/CM)


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