Abor­tion deal sees speech cleared

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS | POLITICS -

Theresa May has cleared her first ma­jor Com­mons hur­dle of the new Par­lia­ment as MPs backed the Gov­ern­ment’s leg­isla­tive pro­gramme for the next two years.

The House voted by 323 to 309 to ap­prove the Queen’s Speech with the Demo­cratic Union­ists sup­port­ing the Gov­ern­ment in line with their deal struck with the Con­ser­va­tives ear­lier this week.

How­ever it only passed af­ter min­is­ters rushed out an an­nounce­ment of fund­ing for women in North­ern Ire­land to have abor­tions in Eng­land on the NHS to head off a Tory re­volt which threat­ened to de­rail the whole process.

The se­nior Con­ser­va­tive MP Sir Peter Bot­tom­ley added his name to an amend­ment by Labour back­bencher Stella Creasy call­ing on the Gov­ern­ment to pro­vide fund­ing so women in North­ern Ire­land, where there are much tighter con­trols, could have a ter­mi­na­tion with­out pay­ing.

If the amend­ment had passed it would have meant the staunchly anti-abor­tion DUP would have been asked to sup­port a Queen’s Speech which ex­plic­itly pro­vides for women from North­ern Ire­land to have free abor­tions.

Rather than risk more Tory MPs join­ing Sir Peter in sup­port­ing the amend­ment, rais­ing the prospect of a Gov­ern­ment de­feat, Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond an­nounced min­is­ters had found the cash needed.

“I know this is a mat­ter of great im­por­tance to mem­bers on both sides of the House and an is­sue which I know my col­leagues on the Trea­sury bench have been look­ing for a so­lu­tion to,” he said.

The con­ces­sion was wel­comed by Ms Creasy, who with­drew her amend­ment with­out putting it to a vote, on the ba­sis of the Gov­ern­ment’s as­sur­ances.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.