This is an incredibly important issue and I believe it is wrong that issues of human rights and social justice that are enjoyed naturally in other parts of the UK are being denied to citizens in Northern Ireland.
I recognise polls which demonstrate a surge in support for equal marriage in Northern Ireland. Indeed, in April 2018 a poll demonstrated that fewer than one in five people in Northern Ireland are now opposed to equal marriage.
On the subject of Abortion, I believe that women should have the right to choose a safe, legal abortion and I would like to see the laws governing abortion in Northern Ireland reformed.
Following the collapse of Northern Ireland’s devolved power-sharing Government, campaigners have argued that the UK Parliament now has a responsibility to bring about equal marriage in Northern Ireland.
Of course, I would like devolved government to be re-established as soon as possible. But in its absence, I believe the UK Government must uphold international human rights and take steps to extend the right to equal marriage to Northern Ireland as well as access to abortion.
The UK Government maintains that this is a devolved matter and has stated its hope that a Northern Ireland Executive will be in place soon to address these issues. The UK Government has however emphasised that if this issue were to be raised in Westminster, its policy is to allow a free vote on matters of conscience such as equal marriage. On 09/07/2019 there was a vote on the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill.
Amendment NC1, which sought to introduce Marriage Equality in Northern Ireland, and Amendment NC10, which sought to introduce access to abortion in Northern Ireland, were both voted on and passed by the House of Commons, and supported both amendments which sought to end the division between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK