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Labour MPs 'unseemly and aggressive' after Northern Ireland law vote, says DUP's Campbell



Criticism: Gregory Campbell

Criticism: Gregory Campbell

Criticism: Gregory Campbell

Gregory Campbell has accused Labour MPs of "unseemly and aggressive" behaviour during a debate on a piece of legislation which could open the door for changes to Northern Ireland's abortion laws.

On Wednesday evening parliamentarians debated an amendment to emergency legislation being pushed through Westminster which would clarify and strengthen the role of Northern Ireland civil servants in the absence of a power-sharing executive.

With various public services floundering in the absence of ministers, Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley is pushing through the changes in an attempt to bring a level of stability to the region.

The amendment, which was put forward by Labour MPs Stella Creasy and Conor McGinn passed by 207 votes to 117.

The vote does nothing to the law of Northern Ireland, the amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill does call on Karen Bradley to provide guidance on the legal status of same-sex marriage and abortion.

Karen Bradley, who opposed the amendment to the Bill, has said the purpose of the legislation is to create a path back to devolution in Northern Ireland.

In a statement on Thursday, East Londonderry MP Mr Campbell said there had been an attempt to "hijack" Karen Bradley's Bill, and the campaign to change Northern Ireland's abortion laws was "brought into sharp focus" during the debate.

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"It must be noted that these issues are a matter for both the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives to decide," said Mr Campbell.

"One element of the debate which I couldn’t help but notice was the degree of celebration and aggression on display particularly among Labour MPs speaking in support of liberalising our laws.

"Imagine the howls of outrage and indignation if a 'pro-life' legislative change were to be passed and MPs supporting the change were to behave in a similar unseemly and aggressive fashion, clapping and cheering as happened on this occasion."

Mr Campbell said a "chill ran through [his] veins" on Wednesday evening after the vote went through, and described himself as "passionately pro-life".

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