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Cameron accused over abortion vote

David Cameron has been accused of giving in to Liberal Democrat "blackmail" over abortion as MPs overwhelmingly threw out a bid to prevent termination providers offering counselling.

In a last-ditch bid to win support for her proposal, Tory MP Nadine Dorries told the Commons that the Prime Minister dropped initial support because of pressure within the coalition.

Cabinet ministers Liam Fox and Iain Duncan Smith were among high-profile backers in the free vote on the amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill.

But with the Labour co-sponsor of the amendment Frank Field withdrawing his backing at the last minute, the change was defeated by 368 votes to 118, majority 250.

All three main party leaders had indicated their opposition to moving to "independent" counsellors rather than organisations connected with offering abortion procedures.

Ms Dorries told MPs Mr Cameron had initially been "very encouraging" about her move but was then placed in an "impossible position" by the Lib Dems.

When she tackled him directly, he inadvertently caused laughter in the Commons by calling her "frustrated" and then sat down amid the uproar saying he had to "give up" on answering.

The defeat, after an increasingly bitter debate, was welcomed by one of the providers Bpas (British Pregnancy Advisory Service).

Chief executive Ann Furedi said: "Bpas is pleased to see Nadine Dorries's amendment so overwhelmingly rejected. We look forward to being able to focus our efforts on the issues which pose a genuine problem for women considering ending a pregnancy."

Mr Field said he was satisfied with the Government's pledge to examine the issue.


From Belfast Telegraph