British PM May wins confidence vote, calls on MPs to work together to deliver Brexit
The prime minister said she believes it was her duty to deliver on the British people’s instruction to leave the European Union.Updated: Jan 17, 2019 14:46 IST
Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday survived a no-confidence motion by a majority of 19 and set in motion the process of rebooting her government’s approach to Brexit after the withdrawal agreement was rejected by the House of Commons on Tuesday.
Conservative rebels and the 10-member Democratic Unionist Party that voted against the agreement voted in support of May during the no-confidence motion brought by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The motion was rejected 325 to 306 after a six-hour debate.
May said after surviving the motion: “We must find a solution that has sufficient command and support of the House. I will start meeting senior parliamentarians and party leaders from tonight in a constructive spirit to identify ways to secure parliament’s endorsement”.
“We will continue to work to deliver Brexit. I will return on Monday with a statement on the way forward”.
The statement, seen as Plan B after the 599-page agreement was rejected, is expected to add, revise or delete provisions that have riled supporters and opponents of Brexit alike.
EU leaders in Brussels, Paris and elsewhere said they await clarity from London on the way forward. Under current circumstances, the UK is due to leave the EU on March 29, adding urgency to put in place arrangements for life after Brexit.
Opening the debate on the no-confidence motion, Corbyn insisted that a fresh election is the only way out to resolve the impasse; his suggestion, however, was rejected by May on the ground that it is not in the national interest. The last mid-term election was held in 2017.
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson delivered one of the most hailed speeches, as he said: “No one doubts her determination, which is generally an admirable quality, but misapplied it can be toxic. We know she has worked hard. But the truth is she is too set in her ways, too aloof to lead”.
“She lacks the imagination and agility to bring people with her. She lacks the authority on the world stage to negotiate this deal. Ultimately she has failed. It is not through lack of effort It is not through a lack of dedication”.
“I feel sorry for the prime minister. But she cannot confuse pity for political legitimacy, sympathy for sustainable support”.
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First Published: Jan 17, 2019 07:26 IST