Belfast Telegraph

SDLP's Alban Maginness attacks party leader over support for repeal

By Mark Bain

Former SDLP MLA Alban Maginness believes Colum Eastwood has damaged the credibility of the party with his public support for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment in the Republic.

He further questioned Mr Eastwood's leadership credentials, saying his stance on the abortion issue "sits uneasily with the party's commitment to being a pro-life party". Writing in today's Belfast Telegraph, Mr Maginness said: "Colum Eastwood is putting himself into a minority position within his own party by gratuitously advocating support for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment in the South and a "fit for purpose abortion law" in the North."

Ahead of the May 26 referendum, the SDLP voted as a party to allow its members to vote according to conscience on all abortion-related matters, although it reaffirmed its "pro-life stance". Mr Eastwood said he was "pro-life, but I understand that there are very difficult situations that families and doctors have been put in because of the restrictions in the law and I for one want to see people's lives made easier around that".

He added: "I don't want to see us exporting a problem because we aren't prepared to deal with it ourselves."

But Mr Maginness warned the SDLP leader that "he should know very well that hard cases make bad law and this argument has been widely used as a Trojan horse to permit the introduction of wider abortion legislation in other jurisdictions".

He added: "Holding such views and being the leader of the party at the same time sits uneasily with the party's commitment to being a pro-life party."

Belfast Telegraph

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