Donaldson responds to Supreme Court decision

07 June 2018

Responding to the judgement of the Supreme Court today DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said,

Jeffrey Donaldson MP

Parliamentary Chief Whip; Spokesman on Defence and business in the House of Commons

Jeffrey Donaldson

“This is a deeply sensitive subject and we should all approach the matter of abortion with the seriousness and maturity that the discussion deserves. 

We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission did not have standing to bring this case to court and consequently the Court has no jurisdiction to make a declaration of incompatibility.

The judgement is non-binding on the Government at Westminster and on a future Executive in Northern Ireland regarding the law on abortion.

The Human Rights Commission however has questions to answer about the cost of this exercise and why it decided to act beyond its competence in such a sensitive issue.

We will carefully consider the views outlined by the learned Judges on both sides in each of the divided opinions issued by the Supreme Court today. These reflect the divided views in Northern Ireland and it is important that political parties engage with civil society on these issues. We have sought to find a way forward in relation to pregnancies with lethal abnormalities and proposed establishing an expert working group. We will continue our work on this and the other related matters.

This is a devolved matter and any attempt to change the law without the consent of the Assembly would be a breach of the devolution settlement. We welcome the clear position taken by the Government in respecting the right of the Assembly to legislate on abortion, reflecting the will of the people of Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein should now join with the other parties in Northern Ireland and immediately restore the Executive and allow local legislators to consider issues such as abortion. It is Sinn Fein alone who are preventing the Assembly from addressing such sensitive and important matters.

The DUP stands ready to enter an Executive with no-preconditions and if the Secretary of State will convene a meeting of the Assembly we will appoint Ministers to take on the responsibilities that our mandate has given us. The people of Northern Ireland have waited long enough.”

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