After a difficult few weeks, Theresa May can today breath a sigh of relief – the Queen’s Speech has passed. MPs voted for the government’s legislative programme by 323 votes to 309 – a majority of 14.
The government successfully defeated each amendment put to the House. Labour’s official Brexit amendment was defeated by a majority of 26. Meanwhile Chuka Umunna’s single market amendment saw a Labour rebellion. The whips had ordered MPs to abstain, but it’s thought 51 Labour MPs defied the whip and backed the motion anyway. However, the fact that this amendment was still defeated by a majority of 221 shows that the House backs Britain’s exit from the single market overall.
There was one amendment notably missing from the vote. Stella Creasy withdrew her amendment for women from Northern Ireland to be able to get abortions on the NHS in England after the Chancellor said he would implement the motion regardless. This concession was made over worries that Conservative MPs were preparing to rebel and the government could suffer a defeat.
While the government can take heart that the Queen’s Speech has passed, the Creasy amendment highlights how vulnerable May’s government is on issues that have cross party support. As a result, expect more Parliamentary ambushes in the coming months.