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Queen's Speech passes the Commons as DUP MPs back Theresa May's plans

Queen's Speech passes the Commons as DUP MPs back Theresa May's plans

John Ashmore

3 min read

Theresa May’s Queen’s Speech has passed through the House of Commons with the support of the DUP’s 10 MPs. 


MPs voted 323 to 309 to back the Conservatives' two-year programme for government.

Jeremy Corbyn said the Government had survived "by the skin of their teeth".

A Labour amendment calling on the Government to end the public sector pay cap, introduce a higher minimum wage and increase taxes on the wealthy was defeated by 323 votes to 297.

The vote was the first major test of the Tory-DUP pact agreed in the wake of the election after the Prime Minister lost her Commons majority.

Under the controversial deal, an extra £1bn in of taxpayers' cash will be spent on health, education and other public projects in Northern Ireland.

It means the Tories can now begin implementing a legislative programme dominated by Brexit, with a total of eight bills including plans to reshape immigration policy, trade and agriculture, and convert decades of EU law onto the UK statute book. 

Read a full run-down of the bills and draft bills in the Queen’s Speech.

The Government also plans new measures to protect holidaymakers, a clampdown on false whiplash claims and a draft bill to tackle domestic abuse.

But they have been forced to backpedal on a number of key manifesto pledges, including reforms to social care, means-testing of the Winter Fuel Allowance and scrapping free meals for primary school pupils.

ABORTION

The Tories had been facing possible defeat on an amendment to the Queen's Speech tabled by Labour MP Stella Creasy aimed at giving Northern Irish women free abortions on the English NHS, a change some Tory MPs were set to support.

But to head off a backbench rebellion, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced to the Commons this afternoon that the Government would back the move.

Announcing the withdrawal of her amendment, Ms Creasy told MPs: "I am delighted at today’s announcement by the Government and satisfied by the commitments I’ve had from the minister responsible about her commitment to working with the sector and on that basis I am happy to withdraw the amendment today. 

"Let us send a message to women everywhere that in this Parliament their voices will be heard and their rights upheld."

Mr Corbyn said: "The Conservatives survived by the skin of their teeth today, supported by the DUP, but this is a government in chaos.

"The Conservatives are all over the place on Brexit, with ministers contradicting each other. On public sector pay, they say one thing and then do another, voting yesterday to continue the cutting the pay of our nurses, firefighters, police and other public sector workers.

"And today, they were forced to finally promise that women from Northern Ireland will no longer have to pay for abortions on the NHS under opposition and public pressure.

"This government is out of control, with no mandate for continued cuts to our schools, hospitals, police and other vital public services or for a race-to-the-bottom Brexit. Labour will oppose these policies every step of the way.

"Labour offers a clear alternative, laid out in our manifesto, which would put wealth, power and opportunity back in the hands of the many not the few."

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