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General Election 2024 – Pro-life MPs battling to keep their seats

by | Jun 27, 2024

By Right to Life UK

The outlook on the debate concerning beginning and end-of-life issues could radically change in the next Parliament as a number of prominent pro-life MPs, including Fiona Bruce, Sir Liam Fox, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, Caroline Ansell and Miriam Cates, risk losing their seats in the upcoming election on 4 July according to current polling projections.

Several polling companies including YouGov, Savanta, Electoral Calculus and Opinium have conducted polls ahead of the 4 July General Election, with a range of predictions, some of which indicate a number of pro-life MPs are at serious risk of losing their seats.

Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton since 2010 and vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, is fighting to retain her seat. Bruce has been a staunch advocate for the unborn and women facing unplanned pregnancies during her parliamentary career, including a long tenure as the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group and tabling [introducing] a landmark amendment to explicitly ban sex-selective abortion.

She has taken the lead on a number of other initiatives to protect the unborn during her 14 years in Parliament. On the assisted suicide issue, she led the Parliamentary campaign against the Marris assisted suicide Bill, resulting in a massive setback for the assisted suicide lobby when it was defeated by 330 votes to 118. Fiona Bruce commanded an 18,561 majority over the other nearest candidates in the 2019 General Election.

However, current polling from leading polling company YouGov predicts she is in danger of losing her seat with a very narrow margin of 32.8% of the vote compared with the Labour candidate’s 38.6%.

Sir Liam Fox has maintained a pro-life voting record and recently tabled an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill to end abortion up to birth for babies prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, an amendment that was supported by 76 other MPsPolling suggests that Sir Liam is also in danger of losing his seat in the upcoming election meaning the loss of a key pro-life MP in the next Parliament.

Andrew Lewer MBE, the former Northampton South MP, has a voting record that reflects his strong pro-life stance. Lewer has opposed various legislative efforts to expand abortion access, including voting against the extension of abortion services in Northern Ireland and opposing at-home abortion.

He tabled an amendment to the Public Order Bill in March 2023 that sought to exempt silent prayer from proscribed activities within buffer zones around abortion clinics. Lewer is currently fighting to keep his seat, trailing Labour’s candidate by 12%, according to the latest YouGov poll.

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, previously the MP for North East Somerset, former Leader of the House of Commons and GB News presenter, is a strong pro-life advocate in Parliament. He has consistently articulated his opposition to abortion and has voted accordingly, including opposing the Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 and voting against making abortion legal up to birth.

Despite being an MP for over a decade, Sir Jacob faces a significant challenge in the upcoming election. While Sir Jacob enjoyed a comfortable majority of over 14,000 in the 2019 election, recent polling suggests there will be a tight race for the North East Somerset and Hanham seat on 4 July.

2019 intake MPs also facing big battles to keep their seats

Several pro-life MPs from the 2019 General Election intake also face precarious re-election prospects. Chris Green, Miriam Cates, Flick Drummond, Nick Fletcher, Sally-Ann Hart and Robin Millar could all lose their seats in the upcoming election. In particular, Miriam Cates and Caroline Ansell have been vocal advocates of pro-life issues.

Caroline Ansell, formerly the Eastbourne Conservative MP, has a consistent pro-life track-record. Earlier this year she tabled an amendment to the recent Criminal Justice Bill, supported by over 50 MPs, that would have lowered the upper limit for abortion in most cases from 24 to 22 weeks. Recent polling data indicates that she is at risk of losing her seat.

Miriam Cates has also taken a firm stand on pro-life issues, voting against making ‘DIY’ abortions permanent in England and speaking out in the media against plans to make extreme changes to our abortion laws. Flick Drummond has similarly championed pro-life causes, recently tabling an amendment that would have reinstated the need for in-person consultations with a medical professional prior to an abortion taking place at home.

These female MPs bring a vital perspective to the pro-life debate.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Victoria Prentis, Maria Caulfield, Danny Kruger, Sir John Hayes and Derek Thomas all voted against making at-home abortions permanently available in England and Wales. They all face uncertain futures in the upcoming election, with some seats currently showing a close three-way race between the Conservatives, Labour and Reform.

In contrast, some pro-life MPs hold relatively safe seats. Sir Desmond Swayne, Tim Farron, Rachael Maskell and Mary Glindon are expected to retain their positions in the upcoming election. This would provide stability for continued pro-life advocacy in Parliament, ensuring that there remains a voice for these issues regardless of the broader electoral outcomes.

Another significant issue on which MPs have made their pro-life stance clear is assisted suicide. In 2015, MPs including Fiona Bruce, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Victoria Prentis, and Rachael Maskell voted against legalisation. As the debate around assisted suicide continues, the presence of these MPs in Parliament remains crucial for pro-life advocacy.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, the pro-life landscape is also facing potential changes. Paul Girvan was the Democratic Unionist Party MP for South Antrim. His seat is contested by the former Stormont Health Minister, Robin Swann, who has significant support because of his high profile and political influence. Swann reportedly attempted to introduce ‘DIY’ abortions in Northern Ireland in 2021.

Pro-life DUP MPs Ian Paisley Jr, Sammy Wilson, and Carla Lockhart, who all voted against the imposition of abortion on Northern Ireland, hold relatively safe seats according to polling. Their secure positions help ensure that pro-life advocacy remains strong in Northern Ireland, even as other seats face more competition.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said

“Despite the fact that 70% of MPs who are not standing for re-election took a predominantly pro-abortion stance during their time in Parliament, many pro-life MPs standing for re-election look to be facing an uphill battle. Unfortunately,  many of the MPs currently facing battles to keep their seats have shown a commitment to protecting the unborn, as demonstrated by their voting records. As the election approaches, it is important for constituents to be aware of their candidates’ stances on these crucial issues.

 

“The upcoming General Election poses challenges for a significant number of pro-life MPs. The political climate may jeopardise their positions. As the election draws nearer, the fate of these MPs will depend on gaining sufficient support from their constituents amidst the current electoral landscape.”

Categories: Politics