New Health Secretary Therese Coffey has said she will not try to “roll back any aspect of the abortion laws” despite her views on the issue.
The Deputy Prime Minister, who is Catholic, voted against same-sex marriage in 2013 and the extension of abortion rights in Northern Ireland.
He also voted against making home abortion pills, introduced during the pandemic, permanently available in England and Wales.
The British Pregnancy Advice Service (BPAS), which provides NHS-funded abortions, has said its record on abortion rights is “deeply concerning”.
Asked on BBC Breakfast about her views, Ms Coffey said she would continue access to abortions, adding that what happens in England is her responsibility.
On the pill vote at home, he said: “Well, I’m a Democrat and the vote was won in Parliament by people who wanted to make it permanent.
“There are many other people who are exceptionally pro-abortion who did not want this to happen.
“However, Parliament voted and that happened and the regulations are now in place.”
The new health secretary was also asked about social media posts circulating on Tuesday night about her being a former smoker.
“I didn’t look at social media last night, I don’t usually look at social media,” she said, adding that she is not concerned about such comments.
Asked about her position on abortion on Sky News, she said: “I am aware that I have voted against abortion laws.
“What I will say is that I’m the full Democrat and that’s done, so it’s not like I’m looking to undo any aspect of the abortion laws.”
Ms Coffey, who has a PhD in chemistry, also told the broadcaster that health and social care will be funded by general taxation.
He was asked about the challenge of paying for health and social care without the guarantee of extra funds from the soon-to-be scrapped National Insurance increase.
Ms Coffey told Sky News: “The intention is that it will be funded from general taxation and that is the case, so we will continue to put the same amount into health and social care that we would set through the levy.”
He reiterated his top four priorities: “A, B, C, D: ambulances, delays, care, doctors and dentists.”
The minister also pledged to do more about delayed discharges of people from hospital, which prevents other people from accessing beds.
“There are actually thousands of people in hospital at the moment who don’t clinically need to be in hospital, who need that care when they leave hospital,” he told the BBC.
“That’s why this combination of focusing on social care and health (is) going to be critical.”
Growing the economy is “the main element” of this new Government, he said, adding that doing so “will bring more tax revenue to fund public services, but also with our taxpayers”.
Ms Coffey was later criticized on Twitter for comments she made on BBC Radio 4’s Today program referring to chiropractors, who work on muscle and joint pain, but mainly work privately.
Referring to the NHS, he said “most healthcare is delivered through primary care, through our doctors, dentists, chiropractors”.
The NHS website says that access to chiropractors is not widely available on the NHS.
“If you need hands-on treatment, a GP is more likely to refer you to a physiotherapist,” he says.
Meanwhile, Ms Coffey’s interview with LBC’s Nick Ferrari was interrupted by her phone alarm.
He struggled to turn off the alarm, which was set to the opening bars of US rapper Dr Dre’s 1999 song – Still DRE
“I just noticed my alarm is going off on my phone, I apologize,” he said.
“You’re getting some Dr Dre.”