London: British Prime Minister Theresa May has called on MPs to “put self-interest aside” and “work constructively together” towards Brexit after surviving a no confidence vote and averting a general election.
The prime minister won by 325 votes to 306―a majority of 19―on Wednesday, a day after her government suffered a historic parliamentary defeat over her Brexit divorce deal with the European Union.
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street after the voting, May said the government has won the confidence of Parliament. This now gives “us all the opportunity to focus on finding a way forward on Brexit”, she said.
“Overwhelmingly, the British people want us to get on with delivering Brexit, and also address the other important issues they care about,” the Conservative leader said.
“Now MPs have made clear what they don't want, we must all work constructively together to set out what parliament does want.”
“That's why I am inviting MPs from all parties to come together to find a way forward. One that both delivers on the referendum and can command the support of Parliament. This is now the time to put self-interest aside,” she said.
The prime minister said she believes it was her duty to deliver on the British people's instruction to leave the European Union. “And I intend to do so,” May said in the televised interview after the winning the vote of no confidence.
Earlier, 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.
During her address form 10 Downing, the prime minister said she has held “constructive” meetings and will be meeting MPs along with senior government officials in the coming days.
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 in the House of Commons.
“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 undecided 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.