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Success! Last night’s bill – put forward by Stella Creasy and Conor McGinn – was a step towards equality in Northern Ireland, with an amendment passing in Westminster that forces the government to take more responsibility on the current bans on equal marriage and abortion.
The United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women committee and the British supreme court have both ruled that the abortion laws in Northern Ireland infringe human rights With no devolved Stormont government for almost two years now it should be incumbent on the Westminster government to bear responsibility for this. With the new rules, Northern Ireland secretary Karen Brady will have to justify the current legislation.
This does not quite pave the way for changing the current laws in Northern Ireland and, with the Democratic Unionists propping up Theresa May, it is unlikely the government is prepared to move on this soon. However, it does hold the Tories more accountable this inequality anomaly in our country – and that alone is a good thing.
– Conor Pope, deputy editor
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