Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 Section 3(2)

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 (Rule of Law) – in the House of Commons at 10:07 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton 10:07 pm, 9th September 2019

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention.

I have a few questions for the Minister. First, could he give more detail on the five bullet points on page 25 of the review, which give inadequate information on some really key issues, such as the scoping of how best to deliver the regulations? One line on that is insufficient, given that we are only 40 days away from 22 October, and on a matter of such gravity.

Secondly, given the uncertainty over the new framework, how is the health and safety of women in Northern Ireland going to be protected during the five-month period? Thirdly, will the lack of regulation from 22 October mean that Northern Ireland is not compliant with the Istanbul convention’s requirement for an offence of forced abortion? This is serious. The whole point made by those in the Opposition who brought this measure forward was that there were human rights concerns. This is a human rights concern.

Fourthly, can the Minister confirm whether, as a matter of law during this interim period—I do not say that it is likely—it might be possible for abortions to take place up to 28 weeks in Northern Ireland? Fifthly, although the report mentions clarity for the medical professions, can he say how the Government will engage with them? Finally, will he be seeking advice from the Attorney General of Northern Ireland, as he will be from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission?