The announcement by the Northern Ireland First and Deputy First Ministers on 18 November 2008 set out a process, the completion of which would see policing and justice matters devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly. The process is continuing to move forward. The Northern Ireland Act 2009 provided the necessary legislative framework for the Assembly to move to the next stage of that process. It will be for the Assembly to decide when to request the transfer of powers but the Government remain committed to doing whatever it can to facilitate progress towards devolution.
I continue to receive correspondence from people in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the UK both supporting and opposing any changes to the law on abortion in Northern Ireland. The Government’s position remains that these are matters best dealt with by the Northern Ireland Assembly when it assumes responsibility for the criminal law.