Ministers Clash over Plan to Devolve Abortion Law to Scots
Colin Brown Chief Political Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
A move to give the proposed Scottish parliament powers over abortion law have been blocked after a row in the Cabinet committee which has been thrashing out the details for the policy on devolution.
Donald Dewar, the Scottish Secretary, was beaten off in a series of clashes with English ministers, including Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, Frank Dobson, the Health Secretary, and Jack Cunningham, Minister of Agriculture.
Senior government sources confirmed last night that the question of giving the Scottish parliament the right to tighten abortion law had been raised, but had been firmly rejected. "Abortion being devolved to the Scottish parliament is not on the cards," said a source. It could remain a divisive issue for Scotland, with its strong Catholic population, to have abortion law determined in London and it could reopen during the passage of the main legislation, if a referendum sup- porting the Scottish parliament produced a "yes" vote in September. …