THE IRISH Society of the British Labour Party has urged leader Jeremy Corbyn to stay out of the debate on whether Northern Ireland abortion laws should be amended to be in line with Ireland.
The Labour leader has so far managed to avoid calling for a change in the laws, but is facing increasing pressure inside his party after The Guardian published an open letter by a number of Labour MPs urging Westminster to press for change in the absence of a sitting Assembly in Northern Ireland.
Prime Minister Theresa May said she has no plans to help liberalise abortion rights in Northern Ireland, particularly as she would lose the support of the pro-life DUP - which would make her government untenable.
Now the influential Labour Party Irish Society has come out against a referendum, stating that such a move would be "divisive" and "simply further delay women's rights in Northern Ireland".
"We disagree with calls for an abortion reform referendum in Northern Ireland. No group should have to appeal to another for their fundamental rights. It’s not constitutionally required and so wouldn’t be legally binding," a spokesperson for the society said.
"Therefore you would still have to have a legislative fight. A divisive referendum would simply delay women's rights longer. Politicians need to just get on and do this. Since Stormont can’t and won’t, Westminster must."