Anna Soubry socks it to the DUP in clash over abortion laws

Written by David Singleton on 5 June 2018 in Diary

Watch: The Tory MP had a question for the DUP's Sammy Wilson.

For obvious reasons, Theresa May has not been highly active recently when it comes to standing up to the Democratic Unionist Party.  But fans of women having the right to control their own bodies will be pleased to know that other Tory MPs are less inhibited. 

In the Commons today, the DUP's Sammy Wilson said he was “not embarrassed” about Northern Ireland’s strict anti-abortion laws and even claimed they “protect the woman and her mental health and her physical health”.

So Anna Soubry wanted to know what this would have meant for 724 women living in Northern Ireland who travelled to England or Wales to have an abortion in 2016. In an excellent moment of House of Commons theatre, an incredulous looking Soubry asked:

“What are you going to do? Make them stay in Northern Ireland to have children that they don’t want?”





Speaking earlier in the emergency debate on the issue, Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley confirmed that the Government would give MPs a free vote on any future attempt to overhaul abortion laws. But she also restated the government’s view that this was a matter that should be decided by the Northern Ireland assembly when power-sharing is restored, not by Westminster.

Opening the debate, Labour’s Stella Creasy said: "Why does it matter to trust women and give them the chance to control their own bodies, not to be forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy? Because it is about freedom.”

Raising the setting of the dystopian novel and TV show the Handmaid's Tale, she added: "This is not Gilead. And we should not be frightened to speak up for the equal rights of women. Because to do so is to put women's life and liberation at risk." 


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