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Embryo research debate delayed

The government today risked accusations that it was running scared of the Glasgow East byelection after it called off a controversial vote on embryology research.

Opposition parties believe that ministers have delayed the vote – which had been due next week – because they fear a backlash led by the Catholic church ahead of what is being seen as a crunch poll for the prime minister.

There is a large Catholic population in Glasgow East and the SNP has vowed to overturn Labour’s 13,507 majority.

The Commons was set for a major showdown next week when the human fertilisation and embryology bill’s final stages were due to be debated by MPs.

Some were going to table amendments to make a fresh bid to cut the 24-week time limit allowed for abortions while others wanted to make it easier for women to have them.

It is understood that senior clergy in the Roman Catholic Church of Scotland [sic] were planning to write to MPs ahead of the vote, urging them not to back the legislation.

But today Harriet Harman, the leader of the Commons, said that “difficult decisions” had been made and the “flagship” bill would now be debated in the autumn to allow more time for debate.

Full story at The Guardian.

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