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British MPs approve Theresa May's legislative agenda by 323 votes to 309

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British MPs approve Theresa May's legislative agenda by 323 votes to 309

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The fragile government of British prime minister Theresa May has had its legislative plans approved by MPs.

They approved the ruling Conservatives’ proposals by 323 votes to 309.

It comes days after May’s minority government struck a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to support the Conservatives in certain votes.

It was that backing that helped her squeeze enough votes to pass her policy programme, set out to parliament by Queen Elizabeth last week.

May cut short a visit to Berlin and her defence minister, Michael Fallon, left Brussels to dash back to Britain for the vote, underlining her precarious position after she lost her Conservative Party’s parliamentary majority in an election on June 8 that she did not need to call.

The vote was not without difficulties. Opposition parties proposed amendments which tested the discipline of May’s supporters and the government had to make a concession on abortion rights, making funds available in England for women arriving from Northern Ireland for abortions, to avoid defeat.

Other amendments challenged her stance on Britain’s departure from the European Union, demanding that the country stay in the bloc’s single market, and on austerity, criticising her for not investing in the economy.