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MPs plan to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland

SAME-SEX marriage in Northern Ireland has taken a step closer after MPs voted to legalise it if a new Stormont Executive is not formed by October.

The House of Commons decided by 383 votes to 73 to include the provision in legislation after a cross-party bid led by Labour MP Conor McGinn. The Stormont administration, which Arlene Foster (pictured) was joint head of, has not sat for over two years. Gay marriage is a key dispute between Sinn Fein and the DUP.

John O’Doherty, of The Rainbow Project and Love Equality campaign, said: ‘We are glad the House of Commons has seen sense and voted to give people in Northern Ireland the same freedoms enjoyed by everyone else in these islands. Our future got a little brighter today.’

A proposal to extend abortion access in Northern Ireland — where, unlike in the rest of the UK, it remains criminalised — was also approved by 332 votes to 99.

Women and equalities minister Penny Mordaunt said: ‘This is a welcome step forward. We must make sure that women in every part of the UK can get the care that they need.’