MPs abstain on Northern Irish same-sex marriage and abortion ban vote
PUBLISHED: 18:40 12 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:01 15 July 2019
Parliament voted to legalise same-sex marriage and liberalise access to abortion in Northern Ireland on Tuesday - but our MPs didn't vote.
The vote to legalise same-sex marriage passed by 383-73, while the proposal to extend access to abortion was approved by 332 to 99.
Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps explained his decision to the Welwyn Hatfield Times: "I have always voted in favour of equal rights at every level and am keen to see these extended to every part of the United Kingdom.
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"I'm also keen to see the Northern Ireland assembly back up and running in order take these and other decisions directly.
"So I abstained on this occasion only in order to give space for Northern Ireland politicians to get the stalled talks going again.
"It was a free vote, I didn't discuss it with anyone in advance and naturally I'm always pleased to see equal rights advanced."
Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden commented on the matter: "I support the principle of these amendments. However, I believe these are matters that need to be decided by the Northern Ireland Assembly and therefore abstained."