Court of Appeal ruling reinforces concern over devolved settlement – Lockhart

DUP MP Carla Lockhart, who is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group at Westminster, has said the decision of the Court of Appeal to dismiss a challenge by the Society of the Unborn Child (SPUC) has caused deep concern that the devolution settlement can be set aside at the whim of the Secretary of State of the day, to pursue their own agenda against the will of the majority of people in Northern Ireland.

By Carla Lockhart MP

Upper Bann

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Speaking after the ruling, Carla Lockhart said:

“Abortion is a deeply divisive issue in Northern Ireland, with deeply held views held on both sides of the argument around the right to life of the unborn child.

Despite the most recent public consultation by the Northern Ireland Office on abortion law showing that an overwhelming majority opposed the radical liberalisation of abortion law here, the Secretary of State of the day continued to implement a policy which he himself said was his belief. Next to no regard was given to the views of people in Northern Ireland, in fact they were blatantly disregarded.

The law pertaining to abortion was always a matter for the devolved institution. Yet what we have in this ruling is the Court stating that the Secretary of State’s seizing of these powers is entirely permissible. Whilst Westminster is sovereign, respect must be shown for the devolved view or else devolution is undermined.

This Court of Appeal ruling will cause great concern for those of us who believe local decision makers ought to make the law on these matters.”

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