The Secretary of State tells the House that he is under a duty to invoke a piece of law that has been overtaken by another piece of law. The actual law on standing today is the devolved settlement, which is very clear that abortion is a devolved matter and services arising from that are a devolved matter.
The Secretary of State speaks very emotively and emotionally from the Dispatch Box today saying that he speaks for women and children—“for women and girls”, I think was his phrase—and that he has a moral obligation to do that. Where is his moral obligation to stand at that Dispatch Box and defend the most vulnerable of lives—the unborn life? When is someone from the Government going to actually do that and defend that vulnerability, or is the unborn life an unfortunate commodity that can be disposed of so lightly? That is the point that is being made.
The carefully balanced New Decade, New Approach agreement, which the Secretary of State is signed up to, is being upset by the Secretary of State. Indeed, today’s report, the “Review of UK Government Union Capability”, says:
“A core principle underpinning…devolution…is…respect”.
Where is the respect for the Government of Northern Ireland, for the people of Northern Ireland and for the unborn lives in Northern Ireland?