The DUP’s Westminster Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said any move by the NIO to legislate over the head of the Northern Ireland Executive regarding the commissioning of abortion services would be a serious breach of the principle of devolution.
Sir Jeffrey said,
“Abortion is a devolved matter. Whilst in Westminster abortion is a matter of conscience for all the main parties, any move by an NIO Minister to legislate over the head of the Northern Ireland Executive would raise serious questions about when and in what areas the Government can make interventions in a devolved administration.
The DUP would warn the Northern Ireland Office against legislating on a matter which is wholly devolved and we will vigorously oppose such steps.
When the Northern Ireland Executive was not functioning due to Sinn Fein’s boycott, the Government foisted the most liberal abortion laws anywhere in Europe upon Northern Ireland. That was wrongheaded and deeply damaging. Such laws would never have commanded a majority in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Our Party Leader Arlene Foster has asked for an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State. We will be underscoring that this matter rests with the Health Minister Robin Swann and the Government should leave it with the devolved structures to make such decisions.”