Foreign Secretary and Tory leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt has said that he'd like the legal time limit on abortions reduced from 24 to 12 weeks, and people are outraged.
Speaking on the Sophy Ridge show, Hunt, who has previously worked as the health secretary, was questioned by the journalist over former comments he'd made regarding abortions.
Raising his previous comments, Sophy Ridge said:
Previously on an issue I know many people feel very strongly about, abortion, you have said that you would like to see the legal time limit for abortion being reduced from 24 weeks to 12 weeks, is that still your view?
In response, Hunt said:
Well, these are matters of conscience. Yes, my view hasn't changed on that. I respect the fact that other people have very different views, and that's why these matters are always matters for free votes in the House of Commons, and when they come up people vote with their conscience.
Sophy Ridge then pressed:
Can you guarantee that if you were prime minister the time limit for abortion would stay where it is?
And, to that, Hunt said:
This will be a matter for the House of Commons, not a matter for government policy. The prime minister will have his view, just like every other 650 MPs, who will vote on it as a matter of conscience, but it won't be government policy to change the law.
It goes without saying that the comments elicited outrage on social media, with people saying they're 'out of touch', and that the UK appears to have gone 'Trump Republican red'.
Jess Phillips said it shows Mr Hunt 'pretends to care about women'.
Did this one say he was a feminist, it's hard to keep up with whose on drugs and who pretends to care about women.… https://t.co/te1Qh0yhug
In 2012, Jeremy Hunt, who was then health secretary, said he would favour a change in law to halve the limit on abortions from 24 to 12 weeks, reports the BBC.
At the time, a Downing Street spokesman insisted that Hunt was expressing purely personal views. Later, prime minister David Cameron said that abortion was an 'issue of conscience' and that Mr Hunt was:
absolutely entitled to hold an individual view.
But people need to know the government has got no plans to bring forward any legislation in this area and any vote that does happen will be a free vote.