At a special conference today in Maghera, the SDLP have allowed their members and representatives a conscience vote on the issue of abortion. This allows MLAs such as Claire Hanna a chance to vote for a less restrictive regime around abortion in Northern Ireland.
The vast majority of the SDLP parliamentary party will likely still vote in favour of the status quo, but this does open the way for more pro-choice activitsts within the party to advance their views. The move to conscience was supported by the SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood.
Official statement from the party;
“The SDLP membership reaffirmed our position as a pro-life party. The conference also supported freedom of conscience voting for elected representatives.”
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs