British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has lost a vote in parliament for the first time in his term. A motion by the opposition Labor party was narrowly approved in the British House of Commons on Monday evening against the wishes of the government (246 votes to 242), partly thanks to the support of 22 members of Sunak’s Conservative Party.
Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at 1:18 PM
The motion provides for a compensation scheme to be set up for the victims of a blood scandal. In the 1970s and 1980s, up to 30,000 Britons received infected blood. More than 3,000 people died after becoming infected with HIV or hepatitis C during a blood transfusion or treatment.
The Sunak government did not yet want to make a decision on compensation for the victims. The plan was to wait for the final report of an investigative committee. The alternative majority now obliges the government to act faster.
MPs from all wings of the Conservative Party voted against their own government on Monday evening. Former ministers Robert Buckland and Chloe Smith, among others, supported the rebellion. “The Prime Minister should be ashamed that it took cross-party political pressure and public opinion to force his government to do the right thing,” said Kate Burt of The Haemophilia Society, an organization that represents victims.
The proposal still needs to be approved in the House of Commons.