Theresa May survives as MPs reject motion of no confidence in the Government

Posted On: 
16th January 2019

Jeremy Corbyn has failed in his attempt to trigger a general election after MPs voted against Labour's motion of no confidence in the Government.

Theresa May calls on MPs to reject Labour's motion of no confidence.
Credit: 
PA Images

Following six hours of debate, MPs backed Theresa May's beleaguered administration by 325 votes to 306.

The result is a much-needed boost for the Prime Minister, coming just 24 hours after the Commons inflicted a record-breaking 230-vote defeat on the Government's flagship Brexit blueprint.

EXPLAINED: How the vote of no confidence in Theresa May's government will work

Opposition parties challenge Jeremy Corbyn as they table no confidence motion in government

WATCH: David Cameron says he does not regret calling Brexit referendum amid government chaos

Jean-Claude Juncker warns 'time is almost up' to avoid no-deal Brexit

Mrs May will now set up talks with senior politicians in a bid to find a way through the Commons impasse and get her deal through Parliament.

Kicking off the debate, Mr Corbyn had called on MPs to reject Mrs May's "zombie government" and give voters a fresh say on who should run the country.

He said: "The Prime Minister has consistently claimed that her deal, which has been decisively rejected, was good for Britain workers and business… she should have nothing to fear by going to the people."

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson said: "The country feels genuinely sorry for the Prime Minister, but she cannot confuse pity for political legitimacy, sympathy for political support."

In a barnstorming speech, Labour MP Wes Streeting said life for ordinary people had got worse since the Conservatives first came to power nine years ago.

He said: "Nine years on, it is now the experience of people who use and rely on our public services that things are demonstrably worse now than they were.

"Our school, less well-funded than they were when Labour left office, two-and-a-half million more people waiting more than four hours in accident and emergency departments, and the number of people waiting more than two months for cancer treatment doubled.

"And unbelievably under a Conservative government, a situation that people describe to me as a state of lawlessness because they have cut the Metropolitan Police to the bone with more than a billion pounds-worth of cuts in funding.

"It is no wonder that this afternoon they don't want to stand up and defend the record of this government. It is not the record that they are able to defend, and it is past time to acknowledge that the Government has lost control of Parliament, lost control of the ability to govern and have lost the confidence of the British people."

But Mrs May said a general election at the moment was the worst possible option facing the country.

She said: "Should the next step be a general election? I believe that is the worst thing we could do. It would deepen division when we need unity. It would bring chaos when we need certainty. And it would bring delay when we need to move forward. 

"I believe this House should reject this motion. At this crucial moment in our nation's history, a general election is simply not in the national interest."

Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the DUP, who Mrs May relies on to prop up her government, said he was backing the Government despite their differences over Brexit.

"We believe it is in the national interest to support the Government at this time so the aims and objectives of the confidence and supply agreement we entered into can be achieved," he said.

"I don't think the people in this country would rejoice at the prospect tonight if a general election were to be called. I am not convinced a general election would significantly change the composition of the House. 

"And of course it doesn't change, whatever the outcome, the choices that lie before us all."

And former Labour MP John Woodcock, a long-standing critic of Mr Corbyn who quit the party last year, said that with "a heavy heart" he could not support the confidence motion.

He said the Labour leader and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell were "unfit for high office".