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Tory brands NI law on terminations as 'Victorian'

A Northern Ireland minister has backed changing the abortion law.

Tory frontbencher Lord Duncan of Springbank acknowledged the contentious issue was a devolved matter, but told peers at Westminster: "We should not be relying on a Victorian law."

His intervention is likely to prove controversial with the DUP, which props up the Government and which is firmly anti-abortion.

The UK's 1967 Abortion Act does not extend to Northern Ireland.

Abortions here are illegal, except where the life or mental health of the mother is in danger.

However, Many local women travel to England for abortions, which are available for free after charges were scrapped last year.

Lord Duncan spoke in support of reform as he was pressed in the Lords over the lack of an Executive at Stormont.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Suttie suggested the lack of an Executive to tackle social issues was "leading women increasingly to adopt the dangerous practice of self-medicating and purchasing abortion pills online".

Responding Lord Duncan said: "Abortion is, of course, a devolved matter.

"Nonetheless, it is important to stress that there are issues of conscience that need to be considered, but, again, we should not be relying on a Victorian law. It is time for change."

Belfast Telegraph