Offences Against the Person Act 1861

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:19 pm on 5th June 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 3:19 pm, 5th June 2018

I apologise. I realise the right hon. Lady is not the only voice of Scotland—we will hear many others today. I will not prejudge the Supreme Court decision. We will receive the judgment on Thursday, we believe, and when we have it, we will consider it carefully.

I will return to the question of Northern Ireland. This is a matter of conscience. A free vote will be afforded if the matter of abortion comes before the House again, and the same applies in Northern Ireland. That is why this Government, like their predecessors, believe that the best forum in which to debate and resolve these and many other matters is the locally elected Northern Ireland Assembly. The Government’s priority therefore remains to urgently re-establish strong and inclusive devolved government at the earliest opportunity. As Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, I want to ensure that any future reform is handled with due care and consideration, with locally elected and locally accountable politicians having the opportunity to consider and debate the issues, and the people of Northern Ireland being able to contribute to the debate on the devolved issues that affect their lives.