MPs abstain on Northern Irish same-sex marriage and abortion ban vote

PUBLISHED: 18:40 12 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:01 15 July 2019

Grant Shapps and Oliver Dowden both abstained from the vote earlier this week

Grant Shapps and Oliver Dowden both abstained from the vote earlier this week

Archant

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."

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