Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt take part during the debate Head To Head on ITV on July 9, 2019. (Matt Frost/ITV via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have revealed this evening (July 9) in an ITV debate whether they back marriage equality in Northern Ireland, despite not joining other MPs in voting on the issue earlier today.
During the quick-fire round of the debate, the two were asked: “Do you support extending abortion rights and same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland?”
While Hunt said “yes,” while Johnson said he thought it was a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly- essentially opposing today’s vote by MPs.
MPs voted 383-73 today in favour of extending same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland.
However Hunt and Johnson did not record a vote on the issue, along with cabinet ministers Theresa May, Ester McVey, David Lidington, Philip Hammond, Sajid Javid, Stephen Barclay, David Gauke, Liam Fox, Damian Hinds, Chris Grayling, Karen Bradley, Allun Cairns, Rory Stewart, Brandon Lewis and Jeremy Wright.
Cabinet ministers Penny Mordaunt, Matt Hancock, Greg Clark Amber Rudd, Michael Gove, Liz Truss and David Mundell voted for the amendment and James Brokenshire was the only cabinet minister to vote against it.
The clause to extend marriage equality to Northern Ireland will only become a reality if power-sharing talks fail to restore devolution by October 21.
Should the Stormont executive become functional by this deadline, the amendment will become void.
Stonewall called the vote a “huge step forward”
Stonewall’s executive director of campaigns and strategy Paul Twocock said the vote was “a huge step forward for LGBT equality in the UK and a tribute to those who have spent years building momentum and public support for equal marriage in Northern Ireland.”
He added: “We’re proud of the tireless work our partners at the Love Equality campaign have done to push forward the legalisation of equal marriage.”
Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland director and part of the Love Equality coalition Patrick Corrigan said: “This is an incredible moment and a huge cause for celebration. Marriage equality in Northern Ireland is finally a reality.
“For more than five years, same-sex couples in the rest of the UK have been able to get married whilst this right has been denied to citizens in Northern Ireland.
“Now, in just three months’ time, we could see the first same-sex couples here tying the knot. So many people have been campaigning for this for so long. At points it seemed unachievable, but we never gave up.
“Today’s a day for the history books.”