British PM May wins confidence vote
London, Jan 17 (PTI) Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May won a confidence vote on Wednesday and averted a general election, a day after her government suffered a historic parliamentary defeat over her Brexit divorce deal with the European Union.
Her government won by 325 votes to 306 – a majority of 19.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn argued that May’s “zombie” administration had lost the right to govern during a six hour debate on his motion.
His party has not ruled out tabling further no-confidence motions.
After her victory, May told MPs that she would “continue to work to deliver on the solemn promise to the people of this country to deliver on the result of the referendum and leave the European Union”.
She invited leaders of all parties to have individual meetings with her on the way ahead for Brexit, starting tonight, but called on them to approach them with a “constructive spirit”.
“We must find solutions that are negotiable and command sufficient support in this House,” she added.
May also reiterated a promise to return to the Commons on Monday to give MPs another vote on her plans.
“The House has put its confidence in this government,” she said.
“I stand ready to work with any member of this House to deliver Brexit and ensure that this House retains the confidence of the British people.”
The Democratic Unionist Party, which props up May’s minority government, also voted to keep her administration in power despite their strong opposition to the Brexit deal.
May’s divorce deal to leave the EU was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs on Tuesday, triggering a no-confidence motion against her government and leaving the country with no plans for Brexit on March 29.
The PM’s bid to get the Withdrawal Agreement, struck between London and Brussels, was rejected by 432 votes to 202 – a majority of 230, the biggest defeat ever suffered by a British premier in modern history.
Within minutes after the defeat, the biggest for a sitting British government in history, opposition leader Corbyn’s Labour party moved a motion of no-confidence against the May government to be held on Wednesday.
Britain is set to exit the 28-member European Union, which it joined in 1973, on March 29. With just over two months to go until the scheduled departure, Britain is still undecide on what to do.
May, 62, has spent two years negotiating the divorce plan aimed at bringing about an orderly Brexit and setting up a 21- month transition period to negotiate a free-trade deal with Brussels.
Her deal included both the withdrawal agreement on the terms on which the UK leaves the EU and a political declaration for the future relationship.
May had survived a no-confidence vote by her own Conservative Party in December.