Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Investigation into Commons Northern Ireland abortion vote after 'large number of errors'

Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

The Speaker of the House of Commons has called for an urgent investigation into the vote held in parliament on Northern Ireland's abortion and same-sex marriage rights.

John Bercow said there had been a "large number of errors" but said the result still stood.

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow told MPs on Thursday morning that there had been a mistake in the way members' votes were recorded in the Wednesday night vote.

Mr Bercow told the Commons that he wished to make a "short statement regarding the recording of names in the division list" on the same-sex marriage and abortion amendment to Secretary of State Karen Bradley's new Northern Ireland bill.

The Bill passed with a amendment from Labour MP Stella Creasy requiring the Secretary of State to provide guidance on the human rights compatibility of Northern Ireland's laws on abortion and ban on same-sex marriage.

MPs voted 207 to 117 to accept the changes, despite arguments against it from the DUP, whose nine voting MPs opposed the amended Bill.

"I'm sorry to report that there are a large number of errors in this list. These appear to have been caused by a technological failure," Mr Bercow told MPs.

"The numbers recorded as voting on either side of the division are recorded by the tellers, these numbers are correct, moreover the names recorded on the Commons voting app are also correct.

"Urgent steps are now being taken to correct the record and the Clark Assistant is investigating exactly what went wrong with a view to take necessary corrective action."

It has been announced that there were technical difficulties after the vote and a delay in the publication of the divisions.

Stella Creasy attempted to reform abortion laws in Northern Ireland as part of emergency legislation (PA)
Stella Creasy attempted to reform abortion laws in Northern Ireland as part of emergency legislation (PA)

The result still stands but the way some MPs voted may have been incorrectly recorded in the Hansard (report of parliamentary proceedings). A revised corrected list of the voting will be published.

The Northern Ireland Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions Bill aims to give more power to Northern Ireland civil servants to make decisions in the absence of a functioning Stormont Assembly.

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