What does a hung Parliament mean for pro-life issues?
Britain hasn’t experienced a hung Parliament for many decades. So the question on many pro-life supporters lips is: what does a hung Parliament mean for pro-life issues?
There are few easy answers.
Neither the Conservatives nor the Liberal Democrats made any manifesto commitments on any pro-life issues and given the economic challenges ahead, and the length of time legislation will take to pass given the greater need for compromise, pro-life issues may receive very little Parliamentary time in the new Parliament.
The Government will continue to exert influence on the Parliamentary timetable, including what private members bills get debated. As they will be conscious to avoid coalition splits, there might be less willingness to block controversial backbench Bills. This could work both ways: backbench Bills supporting euthanasia might be given more Parliamentary time, but Cabinet ministers kicking up a big fuss might be able to more easily derail legislation too.
On the other hand, a hung Parliament gives individual MPs power they have not experienced for a long time. Blocks of MPs, such as the pro-life Cornerstone group of Conservative MPs, will be able to exert greater influence and pressure as the Government will not be able to afford dissent amongst even tiny numbers of its own MPs. New Parliamentary reforms put in place at the end of the last Parliamentary session will also give backbenchers more power on the Parliamentary timetable.
And don’t forget the House of Lords. Labour will remain the largest party in the Lords for a period of time, adding further complexity to the equation.
What can pro-life supporters do?
There are a number of things that become even more important for pro-life supporters to do on a local level during a hung Parliament.
Many MPs have been returned to Parliament with very small majorities. It is essential that activists across the country make their pro-life views known to their local MPs. If you and your friends haven’t written to your constituency MP already, now is the time to make contact with them, arguing the need to protect the right-to-life in the new Parliament.
Local press activity also becomes even more important. You should continually assess opportunities for writing to the local newspaper or feeding through local stories to raise the profile of pro-life issues.
If you would also like to help at a national level, please do get in touch with us! And don’t forget to let us know if you’ve had any interesting feedback from your local MP which would be useful for us to know.