Brexit Live: Theresa May survives no confidence vote in Commons
MPs voted by 306 to 325 that they wanted to Government to continue despite its Brexit deal vote loss.
Theresa May has won a vote of no confidence despite suffering a massive parliamentary defeat over her controversial EU Withdrawal Agreement.
Jeremy Corbyn had tabled the motion which could have forced an early general election if the Conservatives had lost.
The figures were 306 for the motion but 325 against it, which meant the Prime Minister hung on by 19 votes. The DUP voted alongside the Tories to reject the motion and one Independent also supported the PM.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman also said she would meet with eurosceptic MPs in her own party, who accepted an invitation, on Thursday.
The leader of the opposition’s spokesman repeated Mr Corbyn’s demand that no deal be ruled out before any talks started.
He said: “There can’t be meaningful talks about how to find a deal that reflects the majority in Parliament and that can command a majority in Parliament while the threat of no deal, which would be disastrous for the country… is still on the table.
“That must come off the table. It’s effectively a blackmail and makes meaningful talks on a real solution that can command a majority in Parliament impossible.”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable told the Press Association: “It’s a big rejection of Jeremy Corbyn. Just as last night was a big rejection of her (Mrs May’s) Brexit.
“I think we are narrowing the options. I think the one step forward that we are looking for from Jeremy Corbyn is he has got to change his position and accept some movement on the principle of a People’s Vote.”
On Brexit talks with Mrs May, Sir Vince said: “If she wants to reach out we are up for it.”
Theresa May’s official spokesman said the Westminster leaders of Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and Plaid Cymru have been invited to meet Mrs May later tonight.
However, a no-deal Brexit will not be taken off the table, despite Mr Corbyn’s insistence it was a prerequisite for talks, he added.
The spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has been very clear that the British public voted to leave the European Union.
“We want to leave with a deal but she is determined to deliver on the verdict of the British public and that is to leave the EU on March 29 this year.”
Asked by a reporter if he was “taking no-deal off the table in response to the opposition leader”, he replied: “I am not.”
Here’s the moment the tellers announced the count:
How did your MP vote tonight? You can find out here
Meanwhile, one Cabinet minister described events as akin to a barn dance:
Former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas called on Jeremy Corbyn to hold a second referendum after his confidence motion failed.
In a clip posted to Twitter, the Brighton Pavilion MP said: “The leader of the opposition was right to try to bring down this toxic, failing Government. But now MPs have had their say on the Brexit deal, he needs to give the people a say over our future relationship with our nearest neighbours.”
Ms Lucas added that to do otherwise would be a “betrayal” of the “majority of his party’s members” and young supporters who were unable to vote in the referendum two years ago.
Liberal Democrats leader Sir Vince Cable tweeted: “Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party cannot procrastinate any longer. Either he backs Brexit or he backs the people.
“He has a responsibility to get off the fence and provide some effective opposition.”
Here’s a break down of the voting figures tonight – very neatly along party lines:
There were 314 Conservative MPs who voted against the no confidence motion, according to the division list.
They were joined by all 10 DUP MPs and Independent Lady Sylvia Hermon.
There were 251 Labour MPs who voted for the motion.
They were joined by 35 SNP, 11 Liberal Democrats, four Plaid Cymru, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, and Independent MPs Frank Field, Kelvin Hopkins, Stephen Lloyd and Jared O’Mara.
After the Government survived the confidence vote, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted his disappointment that Conservative MPs had “put political interest above the national interest”.
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said the result of the vote “shows the importance” of his party’s confidence and supply agreement with the Conservatives.
Mr Corbyn, raising a point of order after the vote, said: “Last night the House rejected the Government’s deal emphatically.
“A week ago the House voted to condemn the idea of a no-deal Brexit.
“Before there can be any positive discussions about the way forward, the Government must remove clearly once and for all the prospect of the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit from the EU and all the chaos that would come as a result of that.”
MPs have rejected Labour’s motion of no confidence in Theresa May’s Government by 325 votes to 306 – a majority of 19.
Welcoming the result, Mrs May told the Commons: “I am pleased that this House has expressed its confidence in the Government.
“I do not take this 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.”
Speaker John Bercow has called “Division, clear the lobbies” and now MPs are filing into the voting lobbies on either side of the Commons chamber – ayes to the right and noes to the left.
Michael Gove then praised the Prime Minister’s “inspirational leadership” as he wound up the debate, and tore into Jeremy Corbyn.
The Environment Secretary listed off the ways in which the Conservative government was protecting our nation’s security, and contrasted that with the Labour leader.
He said: “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.”
He then pointed out Mr Watson had failed to mention Mr Corbyn once, adding: “We have several things in common – we’ve both lost weight, him much more so. We’re both friends of Israel – him much more so.”
And to loud cheers from the Tory benches, he said: “And we both recognise that Mr Corbyn is about he worst possible person to lead the Labour Party.”
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson is now speaking in the Commons. He is closing the debate for his party before the confidence vote is called – expected at around 7pm.
He said Tory MPs “know in their hearts that this Prime Minister is not capable of getting a deal through”.
Meanwhile, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that the onus is still on the UK Parliament to find a solution to the Brexit impasse – and it has to be one that Ireland and the EU can accept.
DUP Leader Arlene Foster said she and the party’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds had a “useful discussion” with Theresa May on Wednesday.
In a statement released by the party, Mrs Foster said: “These are critical times for the United Kingdom and we have indicated that first and foremost we will act in the national interest.
“Lessons will need to be learned from the vote in Parliament. The issue of the backstop needs to be dealt and we will continue to work to that end.
“In keeping with our commitments in the confidence and supply agreement the DUP is supporting the Government this evening so that we can concentrate on the real challenges ahead of us. We will have further engagements in the coming days.”
Mr Dodds shared a picture of the trio on Twitter:
Back to Brexit and we asked a range of voters in Birmingham how they voted in 2016 and if they’d change their minds if the outcome of the current political wranglings was a second referendum:
Independent MP John Woodcock, who represents Barrow and Furness where the next nuclear deterrent submarines are being built, said he had a “heavy heart”, but could not support the no confidence motion.
He said the Mr Corbyn’s opposition to Trident and nuclear weapons meant that helping him to be PM “is just not a serious proposition”.
The long-time critic of Jeremy Corbyn, who quit the Labour Party last year after he was suspended over claims he sent inappropriate messages to a former female member of staff, continued: “Some of my friends mutter disgrace, I hear some of them tutting.
“I have to say that many of them have privately said ‘thank God that you have got the freedom to actually not support this’, because they are wrestling with their consciences of wanting desperately a Labour Government knowing that the leader of their party is as unfit to lead the country as he was when they voted against him in the no confidence motion of the party those years ago.”
Here’s what you missed from the Commons earlier as Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn went head-to-head at PMQs.
Pregnant Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, who delayed a Caesarean operation to attend last night’s vote in a wheelchair, said she had received “personal assurances” from the Prime Minister and would be “nodded through” in tonight’s confidence vote.
The convention allows an MP to be counted as having voted without passing through the division lobby, though they must be present on the parliamentary estate.
A senior Tory has urged colleagues to stop “contemplating our navels forever” and come together to deliver Brexit and govern the UK.
Neil Parish, chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, claimed most of his Tiverton and Honiton constituents think “what on earth are we getting so worked up about” and want MPs to get on with Brexit.
He added the Commons is not representative of opinion in the UK and a second Brexit referendum would solve little.
DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds has confirmed his party would support Mrs May tonight.
He said: “We believe it’s 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. Much work remains to be done on those matters.
“I don’t think the people in this country would rejoice at the prospect tonight if a general election were to be called.
“I’m not convinced that a general election would significantly change the composition of the House and of course it doesn’t change, whatever the outcome, it doesn’t change the choices that lie before us all.”
Here’s a look at what a no-deal Brexit could mean for the UK:
– Theresa May faces a vote of no confidence called by Jeremy Corbyn and expected to be voted on at 7pm.
– Labour launched the bid to oust the Government after Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement was overwhelmingly rejected by 432 votes to 202.
– The Government is optimistic of surviving the vote after the DUP and leading figures from the Brexiteer and Pro-Europe wings of the Tories said they would back the PM.
– Mrs May pledged to reach out to leading parliamentarians from across the Commons to try and find a way forward.
– The PM has until next Monday to return to the Commons and present a Plan B option.
– The UK is scheduled to exit the EU in just over 10 weeks’ time on March 29.
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