Belfast Telegraph

UK Government to rush through Northern Ireland laws in bid to thwart gay marriage bid - report

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley (David Mirzoeff/PA)
Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley (David Mirzoeff/PA)

The UK government is to attempt to force through emergency Northern Ireland laws in an attempt to block a bid to introduce same-sex marriage, it has been claimed.

The Northern Ireland Executive formation bill has been tabled for Thursday in the Commons. As well as dealing with spending it also pushes back the date the Secretary of State Karen Bradley must call an election in the absence of an Executive.

The New Statesman reports the government will attempt to pass the legislation in a day on Monday by introducing it as emergency legislation. This reduces the time the bill can be scrutinised and crucially thwarts any attempt to amend the bill.

The New Statesman reports Labour sources saying the usual agreements for lodging emergency legislation were not secured.

Labour MP Conor McGinn is leading a cross-party group on bringing in marriage equality in Northern Ireland. He said the government had put itself on the "wrong side of history and against LGBT rights". He said MPs across the house would be outraged.

The practice of fast-tracking NI laws has been criticised as recently as just last week by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee. It raised concerns bills could not be properly scrutinised before passing into law.

Earlier on Wednesday at Northern Ireland questions, Karen Bradley said that while same-sex marriage was a devolved issues and one for a local Assembly, she said she would like to see it extended to Northern Ireland. She repeated any vote on the matter would be a free vote allowing MPs to take part as they see fit without instruction from their party.

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