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Government’s Queen’s Speech clears Commons

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    Voting on Queen's SpeechImage copyright House of Commons

    The minority Conservative government has survived its first major Parliamentary test after its Queen’s Speech cleared the House of Commons.

    MPs voted in favour of the package of legislation – which was stripped back after the Tories lost their majority – by 323 to 309.

    The Democratic Unionist Party’s 10 MPs had agreed to support the measures as part of a deal with the Tories.

    Labour’s attempt to add some of its policies to the Queen’s Speech failed.

    Another motion aimed at changing the UK’s Brexit strategy was also defeated.

    The amendment from Labour MP Chuka Umunna aimed to preserve the UK’s EU single market membership. This is not Labour policy, and the party’s MPs were told to abstain – although 51 are thought to have rebelled and voted in favour.

    Earlier, the government averted a possible rebellion by announcing women from Northern Ireland would get free access to abortions on the NHS in England.

    Labour MP Stella Creasy had tabled an amendment which had attracted cross-party backing – but she agreed to withdraw it when the government announced its concession.

    Image copyright AFP/Getty
    Image caption The Conservatives have a working majority of 13 with DUP support

    Labour’s amendment, which was defeated by 323 to 297, called for Brexit to deliver the “exact same benefits” as the EU single market and customs union, as well as scrapping tuition fees, increasing public spending and ending the public sector pay cap.

    Proposing it earlier, shadow chancellor John McDonnell described the Queen’s Speech as a “threadbare scrap of a document” with many of the Tories’ key pledges removed since the general election.

    He also claimed the cabinet was divided over Brexit, with “weekly changes of direction”.

    Chancellor Philip Hammond challenged him to a “grown-up” debate about public spending, accusing Labour of asking voters “would they like someone else to pay higher taxes?”

    During the debate, one Tory MP, Heidi Allen, criticised the arrangement between her party and the DUP, saying she could “barely put into words” her “anger” at the £1bn deal.

    View the original article:

    Ms Allen, who also criticised the Tories’ general election campaign, said she wanted to put on record her “distaste for the use of public funds to garner political control” and warned that “never again” should a government prioritise spending in such a way.

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