LONDON – The Latest on British Prime Minister Theresa May's weakened Conservative government: (all times local):
Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative minority government has secured lawmakers' backing for its legislative plans, but only after making a last-minute concession on abortion funding to stave off defeat.
The House of Commons voted 323 to 309 Thursday to approve last week's Queen's Speech, which laid out the government's plans for the next two years. Defeat would have been a major — and possibly fatal — blow to May's new administration.
The Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority in a June 8 general election and was forced to strike a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to win passage of its legislative proposals in the Commons.
In a sign of the government's fragile hold on power, it was forced into a major concession hours before the vote. Facing defeat on an opposition amendment, ministers said they would pay for women from Northern Ireland to travel to England for abortions.
Britain's government has been forced into a concession hours before lawmakers were set to vote on whether to approve its agenda for a Brexit-dominated parliamentary session.
In a sign of the Conservative government's weakened position after an election wiped out its parliamentary majority, ministers said they would pay for women from Northern Ireland to travel to England for abortions.
Abortion is far more tightly restricted in Northern Ireland than in the rest of the U.K., and hundreds of women a year travel to Britain to terminate pregnancies.
Women from Northern Ireland had previously been asked to pay their own travel costs and for their abortions in England.
The concession came after Labour Party lawmaker Stella Creasy obtained a vote on a motion calling for the abortion funding.
Several Conservative legislators said they would support the amendment, prompting the government's scramble to change its policy.
British lawmakers are set to vote on whether to approve the Conservative government's plans for a Brexit-dominated parliamentary session, in a test of Prime Minister Theresa May's shaky minority administration.
Thursday's vote comes after debate on last week's Queen's Speech, which set out the government's proposed legislation for the next two years.
The slimmed-down agenda jettisoned several promises made by the party before the June 8 election, after voters stripped May's Conservatives of their majority in Parliament.
The main opposition Labour Party is seeking to disrupt May's plans with amendments that would reverse Conservative policies on Brexit and spending cuts.
But the government is likely to get its way thanks to Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, whose 10 lawmakers have agreed to support the Conservatives on key votes.