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Theresa May no-confidence vote result: PM survives Jeremy Corbyn bid to topple Conservative government

PM manages to cling to office once more, as parliament voted by 325 to 306 not to kick off a chain of events that could have led to a general election

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 16 January 2019 20:16 GMT
MPs vote in confidence of Theresa May's government following her Brexit deal defeat

Theresa May has survived Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to topple her government after a motion of no confidence failed to win a majority of MPs’ backing.

The prime minister managed to cling to office once more, as parliament voted by 325 to 306 not to kick off a chain of events that could have led to a general election.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who prop up Ms May’s fragile government at Westminster, said the result “illustrates the importance of the confidence and supply arrangement that is currently in place”.

It was pointed out that if the DUP had voted against the government, the no confidence motion tabled by the Labour leader would have carried by one vote, and almost certainly ending Ms May’s premiership.

It follows the crushing defeat of the prime minister’s Brexit deal in the Commons just 24 hours earlier, with the greatest ever defeat inflicted on a government in modern parliamentary history.

On Wednesday, the Labour leader said any previous prime minister would have resigned in the wake of such a damaging defeat on the most important issue facing the country and one Ms May has spent her entire premiership negotiating.

After the result of the no confidence motion was announced in the Commons, Ms May told MPs: “I am pleased that this House has expressed its confidence in the government.

“I do not take the responsibility lightly and my government will continue its work to increase our prosperity, guarantee our security and to strengthen our union.”

“And yes, we will also continue to work to deliver on the solemn promise we made to the people of this country to deliver on the result of the referendum and leave the European Union.”

She invited leaders of opposition parties to take part in individual meetings with her on the way forward for Brexit, starting on Wednesday evening.

Opening the no confidence debate, Mr Corbyn accused the government of “not recognising the scale of the defeat they suffered last night”.

During the debate, Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader said Ms May could “only dream of being in a situation where she has a majority” and said the prime minister was “captured by her right wing Brexiteers”.

“Of course I wish her no ill will and if she does choose to resign today, can I wish her all the best for her future career,” he added.

“It [the government] has no majority support in this House, it is a government that [is] past its time. And if the government had any humility, had any self respect it would reflect on the scale of that defeat last night … The government should recognise it has no moral authority, the government quite simply should go.”

But defending the prime minister Michael Gove, the environment secretary, praised Ms May’s “inspirational leadership” as he wound up the debate, adding: “While we are standing up for national security, what about Mr Corbyn? He wants to leave Nato, he wants to get rid of our nuclear deterrent.

“And recently he said in a speech, why do countries boast about the size of their armies? That is quite wrong, why don’t we emulate Costa Rica, that has no army at all?

“No allies, no deterrent, no army, no way can this country ever allow that man to be our prime minister.”

The Labour leader himself will now face intense pressure from pro-Remain Labour MPs to campaign for a second public vote on Brexit – one of the options included in the party’s 2018 conference motion should it not be able to deliver a general election.

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