British Prime Minister Theresa May won a vote on the Queen's Speech in parliament by a narrow margin on Thursday, her first major political test since her Conservative Party lost its majority in a shock general election earlier this month.
The narrow result – 323 votes to 309 – showed that support from the Democratic Union Party of Northern Ireland (DUP) had been crucial in the voting.
It was the first major test for May since this month's snap general election when she lost her overall majority. The Queen's Speech marks the state opening of Parliament, and indicates overall government policy. Failure to pass the Queen's Speech would have been seen as a vote of no confidence in May's policies.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street in London, Britain June 29, 2017. /VCG Photo
The Conservatives have 318 Members of Parliament (MPs) in the House of Commons, eight short of what is needed for a guaranteed majority.
To prop up her minority government, May struck a deal with the DUP and its 10 MPs at Westminster, but at a price. She had to agree to a funding package worth a billion pounds (1.3 billion US dollars) for projects in Northern Ireland.
Earlier in the day, the main opposition Labour party made a number of attempts to test May's power in the House of Commons, adding to a day of high tension at Westminster.
They put forward two amendments, but lost – one of them by just 26 votes.
May's government had faced potential defeat in one amendment put forward by Labour MP Stella Creasy over access to abortions for women from Northern Ireland.
Labour MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy, speaks in Trafalgar Square during the Women's March in London, Britain on January 21, 2017. /VCG Photo
Although abortions are available on the British mainland, rules in Northern Ireland make it more difficult for women to have pregnancies terminated.
Creasy wanted MPs to vote on giving women from across the Irish Sea the right to abortions on the British mainland, funded by the National Health Service (NHS). Currently, women have to pay around 1,200 US dollars for an abortion this way.
A number of May's MPs said they aimed to back Creasy's bid, threatening a defeat for the Conservatives.
Before the vote was taken, the Conservatives agreed to NHS funding for abortions for Northern Ireland women, averting what would have been a defeat for May. Creasy withdrew the amendment, averting a damaging vote for May's government.
Chuka Umunna speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in London on Thursday, February 18, 2016. /VCG Photo
Another amendment to the Queen's Speech debate, by Labour MP Chuka Umunna, called for continued single market and customs union membership of the European Union after Brexit, but it was defeated by a vote of 322 votes to 101.
Later, it was revealed that a number of front bench opposition shadow ministers had backed Umunna, leading to the sacking of three opposition frontbencher MPs by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who had ordered his party to abstain from the vote.
(With inputs from Xinhua, AFP)