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?

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3 Responses to “Government announces climbdown on abortion to avoid Queen’s Speech rebellion”

  1. Alasdair Macdonald

    This is a good example of how seeking to create broad-based cross-party alliances, including Tory MPs, can make important gains, when faced with a minority government, propped up by a smaller party which represents one section of one part of the UK.
    (While there are several aspects of Ulster Unionist – DUP/UUP – polices which I find appalling, we must not assume the disrespectful position that these parties do not have defensible philosophical positions on a number of issues, some of which might harmonise with some ‘progressive’ attitudes, such as cross-border trade with the Irish Republic and hence the EU.. The DUP are seasoned and dogged negotiators. They, like SF, play a long game).

  2. patrick newman

    I cant believe the DUP are delighted by this pro-life avoidance concession. Moving on I agree with Alasdair in looking for further opportunities to make progress and to undermine the confidence of the governing party. However I very much disagree with Umunna’s rebellion – he does not seem to understand that the only thing certain about Brexit is ambiguity!

  3. Alma

    looks like they are afraid of something! Why?

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