During Business Questions in the House of Commons yesterday (11 May), the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg, confirmed that the debates and votes on the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020 will not happen this week.
Responding to a question from Valerie Vaz MP, Mr Rees-Mogg said:
What does this mean?
The votes were due to take place this week, but the regulations have now been withdrawn and the Government is saying it’s because of various drafting issues identified by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.
Under the terms of the Act these regulations fall under, the regulations must be approved by both the House of Commons and House of Lords or else they will fall. From the moment they are tabled, these votes must happen within 28 sitting days.
That means that when the regulations are laid before Parliament for a second time, there will be a narrow window of opportunity to respond.
The unexpected delay afforded by the Government’s decision to withdraw the regulations temporarily means more time to act.
It’s vital people continue to contact MPs and Peers about the regulations because they will be coming back.
If they are passed, Northern Ireland will have one of the most permissive abortion regimes anywhere in Europe. We praise God for this miraculous answer to prayer, but we must not be complacent.
Contact your MP today
While there is a temporary reprieve, it is vital to understand that this issue is not over and done with. The regulations will be back and MPs and Peers will still have to vote on them. Please continue to stand with us by contacting your MP and Peers about the regulations. Your action could help us save lives.