Killen queries SNP’s ‘pro­gres­sive’ cre­den­tials

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Jonathan Ged­des

Ruther­glen’s MP has ac­cused the SNP of re­fus­ing to sup­port pro­gres­sive poli­cies across the whole of the UK.

Ged Killen’s comments were made re­gard­ing mar­riage equal­ity in North­ern Ire­land.

The amend­ment to the North­ern Ire­land (Ex­ec­u­tive For­ma­tion and Ex­er­cise of Func­tions) Bill re­quires the Sec­re­tary of State to is­sue guid­ance to civil ser­vants in North­ern Ire­land de­tail­ing how to com­ply with hu­man rights obli­ga­tions in the ab­sence of an Assem­bly and its sup­port­ers claim that it would be a ma­jor step to­wards bring­ing the law on the ac­cess to safe abor­tion and same sex mar­riage in North­ern Ire­land into line with the rest of the UK.

SNP MPs were whipped to ab­stain on the amend­ment with the party say­ing they do not vote on mat­ters de­volved to Eng­land, Wales or North­ern Ire­land.

Com­ment­ing on the re­sult of the vote, Mr Killen said: “This was not about de­vo­lu­tion. North­ern Ire­land is in the unique sit­u­a­tion of hav­ing no func­tion­ing de­volved government and this amend­ment in­structs the Sec­re­tary of State for North­ern Ire­land to is­sue guid­ance to civil ser­vants in the ab­sence of a func­tion­ing Assem­bly.

“This was about hu­man rights, re­spect­ing the rights of women to make decisions about their own bod­ies and re­spect­ing the right of in­di­vid­u­als to marry who they love.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing that SNP MPs opted to put them­selves in the same cat­e­gory as the DUP and right-wing Con­ser­va­tives who op­pose th­ese ba­sic rights in prin­ci­ple but who hid be­hind de­vo­lu­tion as an ex­cuse.

“The ques­tion the SNP must now an­swer is why were they pre­pared to vote against fox hunt­ing in Eng­land in 2015 but not for same sex mar­riage and women’s rights in North­ern Ire­land in 2018.

“This is yet more proof that the SNP can talk a good game but rarely live up to it. They sim­ply can­not be trusted to help de­liver pro­gres­sive poli­cies across the UK.”

Clare Haughey, Ruther­glen MSP, de­fended the SNP. She said: “SNP con­ven­tion at West­min­ster is that mem­bers do not vote on de­volved mat­ters. I hope to see the North­ern Ire­land Assem­bly re-es­tab­lished as quickly as pos­si­ble so they can leg­is­late for the peo­ple of North­ern Ire­land.

“The SNP is un­doubt­edly Scot­land’s most pro­gres­sive po­lit­i­cal party, and whilst Labour prom­ise pro­gres­sive poli­cies in Eng­land, we al­ready de­liver them here in Scot­land.”

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