UK PM Theresa May’s minority government wins confidence vote
Several amendments were proposed by opposition Labour MPs, but they did not pass.world Updated: Jun 29, 2017 22:49 IST
The minority Theresa May government on Thursday managed to pass the Queen’s Speech by a majority of 14, ensuring its survival in office after the ruling Conservative Party fell short of a majority in the June 8 election.
The survival was made possible by a coalition deal with the Northern Ireland-based Democratic Unionist Party (which has 10 MPs). The arrangement attracted much criticism from Scotland and Wales for an agreement to spend more than £1 billion in the region.
Several amendments were proposed by opposition Labour MPs, but they did not pass. Labour won a victory after one of its amendments had the potential of winning support from the ruling party benches: allowing women in Northern Ireland to access free abortion services in England.
Women from Northern Ireland are currently charged about £900 for a termination if they travel to have the procedure in mainland Britain, a policy that was upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this month.
Northern Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe and it is almost impossible for women to have an abortion legally there. The May government announced the concession to avoid a damaging Tory rebellion at a vote on the Queen’s Speech.
The passage of the Queen’s Speech, however, did not stop speculation in Westminster over May’s future as the Conservative Party leader and prime minister. Former cabinet minister Nicky Morgan said she should step down by the end of next year.