Abortion in Northern Ireland

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:25 am on 25th March 2021.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 11:25 am, 25th March 2021

My right hon. Friend makes a strong point about devolution. It is absolutely right that the devolved Administrations have the ability to move on and deliver on their own affairs, and I absolutely hope that the Northern Ireland Department of Health will do that. This is not about us stepping in on a devolved matter, although I appreciate that others have made that case; it is about us ensuring compliance with the legal duties that Parliament imposed on us in mid-2019. Those duties are such that I am under an obligation to ensure that all the recommendations in the CEDAW report are implemented in Northern Ireland. The fact that the Northern Ireland Executive are back—that is a very good thing, and I hope they will take this forward; of course, they have been able to take it forward themselves with any amendments they like—does not remove the legal obligation on the Government to take forward what was voted on in this House in 2019.