Tue 20 Jun, 2017

The DUP knows no bounds when it comes to suppressing the rights of women and LGBTQ citizens in Northern Ireland. Clare Bailey MLA

A letter, showing DUP leader Arlene Foster asking the Scottish Government to restrict the ability of same-sex couples from Northern Ireland to be married in Scotland, is further proof of the party’s outdated views.

Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens’ equalities spokesperson, says the letter represents an attempt to impose the DUP’s homophobic stance beyond Northern Ireland, and also highlights the need for stronger equality laws in Northern Ireland and that politicians from across the UK should be “unwilling to ignore” the situation facing Northern Irish citizens.

Glasgow MSP, Patrick Harvie said:

“I welcome the release of this letter into the public domain, despite Arlene Foster’s brass neck in denying its existence. The Scottish Government was absolutely right to insist that the doors of the registry office here are open, including to those couples from Northern Ireland whose equality is denied by their own devolved government.

“We can only guess the price of the Downing Street deal that’s being cooked up behind closed doors. If we’re lucky, the DUP might still find it difficult to roll back equality laws in the rest of the UK, but that alone isn’t enough. We should be unwilling to ignore the situation in Northern Ireland itself, where women’s reproductive rights are denied, same-sex couples are given second class status in law, and a bizarre collection of climate deniers, creationists and sectarian marchers are in public office.”

Green MLA for Belfast South, Clare Bailey said:

“This shows clear hypocrisy on the part of the DUP. They castigated the Scottish Government for discussing healthcare access to women from Northern Ireland, while Simon Hamilton and Arlene Foster have attempted to pollute Holyrood with their anti-equality agenda.

“The DUP knows no bounds when it comes to suppressing the rights of women and LGBTQ citizens in Northern Ireland.

“I’m glad that these letters have been released and the hypocrisy of the DUP exposed.”

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So spoke the fictional, and now almost legendary civil servant Sir Humphrey Appleby in perhaps his bluntest ever advice in an episode of Yes, Prime Minister. It’s a warning which has been coming to mind a lot recently, and it could have been made specifically about the disastrous decision to take the UK out of the European Union, and the damn silly way in which it’s being done.