Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

No abortion limit vote planned - PM

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt favours a sharp tightening of abortion laws

The Government has no plans to put forward legislation to reduce the time limit for abortion, Prime Minister David Cameron says.

But he made clear that there were opportunities for MPs to bring about a vote in the Commons, which would be treated as a matter of conscience.

Speculation that the abortion time limit might be cut was sparked by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who said that he would like to see a ban on terminations more than 12 weeks into a pregnancy.

But Mr Cameron said that Mr Hunt was expressing his personal view, and not the position of the Government.

In any vote on abortion, MPs would be free to back whatever limit they thought right, said the PM, adding that he personally favoured a "modest" reduction from the current 24 weeks.

Mr Cameron told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "The Government hasn't got any plans to bring forward any legislation or bill.

"Parliament does vote from time to time about these issues. It does tend to vote once a Parliament or so. We now have, under this Government, the ability for Parliament to decide what it wants to vote on.

"My own view is that a modest reduction form 24 weeks would be right and I would vote for that. I voted against 12 weeks."

Mr Cameron said that Mr Hunt had not been intending to put the issue of abortion back on the agenda, but had simply been responding to press questions on the issue.

"He was asked a question because he previously voted for a 12-week limit and he said he has stuck to that view," said the PM.

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