Conservatives score Queen’s Speech victory

30 Jun 17

The minority Conservative government squeezed to victory last night and managed to pass the Queen’s Speech in the Commons with a majority of 14.

MPs voted 323 to 309 in favour of the legislative programme after Labour amendments, including one to remain in the single market, were voted down.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna’s Brexit amendment calling for the UK to “remain within the Customs Union and single market” as well as a guaranteed Parliamentary vote on “any final outcome to negotiations” was voted down by 322 to 101.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reportedly sacked three members of his frontbench team – Catherine West, Ruth Cadbury and Andy Slaughter – who voted in favour on Umunna’s amendment. Transport spokesman Daniel Zeichner resigned from the frontbench on principle.

The Conservatives also headed off another challenge, and the possibility of another general election, by pledging to pay for Northern Ireland women to have abortions in England.

Labour MP Stella Creasy tabled the amendment but withdrew it after the government made the funding pledge, with minister for women and equalities Justine Greening writing to MPs saying: “At present women from Northern Ireland are asked for payment and from now on it is our proposal that this will not happen.”

If a free vote on the amendment had gone ahead there was a strong possibility it could have passed as a group of Conservative MPs were expected to back it.

This could have meant the 10 Democratic Unionist Party MPs would not have voted to pass the speech as a whole, as they object to abortion on religious grounds.

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