Government announces climbdown on abortion to avoid Queen’s Speech rebellion

Northern Irish women will now have access to free abortion in England


The government has backed down on the funding of abortions for Northern Irish women who travel to England, accepting an amendment to the Queen’s Speech tabled by Labour MP Stella Creasy.

MPs were scheduled to vote on the amendment this evening, and the government was facing a major backbench rebellion. Chancellor Philip Hammond’s announcement of the decision in the Commons was quickly followed by a letter from women and equalities minister Justine Greening. According to the letter, the funding will come from the equalities office, so that English health service users are not disadvantaged as a result of the change.

It’s a major victory for Creasy, and am embarrassing climbdown for the government. It could potentially cause tensions between the government and their allies in the DUP, who are staunchly opposed to any expansion of abortion rights in Northern Ireland.

See: MPs will vote on Northern Irish women’s abortion rights today – what’s Stella Creasy’s amendment all about?

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.