A pro-choice rally in Belfast.

Northern Ireland’s devolved assembly is unlikely to be revived for years, after Theresa May said only it could change abortion rights in that part of the UK.

Why do I suggest that? Simple – Mrs May is reliant on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party for her majority in the House of Commons, and the DUP opposes abortion.

So, even though the DUP is the largest party in the NI assembly, it would not be in the Conservative government’s best interests to resolve the problems that led to the suspension of the assembly, more than a year ago.

Whether DUP leader Arlene Foster can live with that is an interesting question.

It will be interesting to find out.

Theresa May has no plans to help liberalise abortion rights in Northern Ireland following the Irish referendum result, Downing Street has said, insisting any change can only be made by the region’s devolved assembly, which collapsed 16 months ago.

The prime minister has faced intense political pressure over the law in Northern Ireland, where abortion remains illegal except in exceptional circumstances, after voters in the Republic of Ireland strongly backed liberalisation.

But while May indicated her support for the Irish referendum decision in a tweet over the weekend, she would risk alienating the Democratic Unionist party MPs who support her government and who back the existing law if she sought to move on the matter from Westminster.

Source: No plans to intervene on Northern Ireland abortion law, says No 10 | UK news | The Guardian


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