Monday 14 October 2019

Applause as gay marriage Bill clears House of Commons, despite Tory revolt

THE Government's controversial plans to legalise gay marriage cleared the Commons tonight despite efforts by Tory backbenchers to derail the legislation.

There was applause in the House after MPs voted by 366 to 161, majority 205, to give the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill a third reading. The legislation will go to the House of Lords after the half-term recess where it is expected to attract fierce opposition from peers, especially the bishops.

Tonight's result is a marginal improvement for Mr Cameron on the vote at second reading when 175 MPs opposed the plans in a Commons vote. It also comes as a relief for Downing Street following a serious attempt yesterday by Tory former minister Tim Loughton to derail the Bill.

Mr Loughton had tabled an amendment extending civil partnerships to straight couples - a move which ministers warned could have cost the Treasury an extra £4 billion in pension liabilities and scupper the chances of the Bill becoming law.

But Labour - mindful they did not want to play any part in derailing the Bill - decided against supporting Mr Loughton - a move which would have seen the amendment pass - and offered the Government an 11th hour deal to immediately review the possibility of extending civil partnerships to straight couples.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller accepted their amendment and Mr Loughton's amendment in the end was easily defeated.

PA Media

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