SIX Scottish Conservative MPs have voted against extending abortion rights to Northern Ireland.

Five of those six also voted against the McGinn amendment which legalises same-sex marriage in the country – if a new Stormont Executive is not formed by October 21.

Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson voted against extending abortion rights but for same-sex marriage, with Douglas Ross, David Duguid, Stephen Kerr, John Lamont and Kirstene Hair voting against both.

MPs voted by 383 votes to 73, a majority of 310, to approve the amendment to the the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill which was tabled by Labour’s Conor McGinn. The Stella Creasy amendment, which extends abortion rights, by 332 votes to 99 – a majority of 233.

The poll was designed to keep Northern Ireland running in the absence of a devolved Government – Stormont collapsed in January 2017 after the power-sharing agreement broke down.

After planning to initially abstain on the vote, the SNP eventually allowed its MPs a free vote.

The party usually doesn’t vote on devolved issues but yesterday afternoon their leader at Westminster Ian Blackford took to Twitter to explain why they were going to make an exception.

Pointing out that the devolved administration in Northern Ireland has not been functioning for some time, the MP explained the specific set of circumstances meant the party would break its own rule on this occasion.

He wrote: “For those asking, I strongly support equal marriage, and women’s right to choose on abortion.

“I’m very proud that @theSNP government introduced the UK’s most progressive equal marriage law, and that Scotland is the only part of the UK where couples from Northern Ireland can convert their civil partnership to a same-sex marriage.

“While @theSNP will always defend the principle of devolution, there are a specific set of circumstances in Northern Ireland where there has been no functioning Assembly for an extended period.

“In these circumstances, we believe it is right to give MPs a vote on these important human rights issues. If the amendments are called to a vote, I will be voting in favour.”

Nicola Sturgeon responded to his thread, adding: “I’m not in the House of Commons but if I was, I’d vote for amendments on NI equal marriage and women’s right to choose for the reasons @IanBlackfordMP sets out here.”

Earlier in the day, Speaker John Bercow chose not to select Tory former attorney general Dominic Grieve’s no-deal Brexit amendment.

Grieve’s new clause 14 had sought to keep government in the province running in the absence of the devolved institutions, requiring Parliament to come back to the issue in October.

The move was designed to try to ensure the next prime minister cannot push through a no-deal on October 31, the current EU deadline for agreeing on a deal, simply by suspending, or “proroguing”, Parliament.