Labour MP plans to set same sex marriage bill in motion

Conor McGinn said he was confident Westminster would back same sex marriage in the north

LABOUR MP Conor McGinn plans to take the first steps towards introducing same sex marriage in the north through Westminster legislation.

The south Armagh-born St Helens North representative said he will bring forward a so-called ten minute rule bill at the end of next month to test his fellow MPs' appetite for backing a private members bill on equal marriage in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this week in response to a question from Mr McGinn, Secretary of State Karen Bradley said that introducing same sex marriage in the north should be a matter for the Stormont assembly but if it was raised at Westminster then the Tory government's policy is to allow a free vote on matters of conscience.

Northern Ireland is the only region of Britain and Ireland where same-sex marriage is not recognised in law.

Several attempts in the Stormont assembly to introduce marriage equality failed because the DUP used a petition of concern to veto the bills.

Mr McGinn's ten minute rule bill enables a case to be made for fresh legislation before MPs decide whether or not a bill should be introduced.

He said it would "decisively test the mood of the House of Commons".

"I'm very confident that we would win any vote and I then think it's for the government to legislate," he said yesterday.

Love Equality campaign spokesman Patrick Corrigan welcomed Mr McGinn's commitment to take the first steps towards introducing the legislation.

"We will be working with Conor McGinn to build cross party support on this issue at Westminster," he said.

"However, I would call on the UK government to introduce its own equal marriage bill for Northern Ireland and bring our laws into line with the rest of the UK and Ireland."

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