'Let's get on with delivering Brexit,' says May after winning confidence vote

2018-12-19 14:03:55Xinhua Editor : Gu Liping ECNS App Download

There was swift reaction across the political spectrum in Britain on Wednesday after Prime Minister Theresa May beat off a challenge to her leadership as she called upon all politicians to "get on with delivering Brexit."

In a confidence vote among her own Conservative MPs, May won backing from 200 lawmakers, with 117 others saying they had no confidence in her as leader of the party.

Speaking outside Downing Street after the result was announced, May said she will seek legal and political assurances from the EU over the Irish border backstop position, one of the key stumbling blocks to her Brexit deal.

The prime minister said that she had had a long and challenging day, but at the end of it she was pleased to have received the backing of her colleagues in the ballot.

"While I'm grateful for that support, a significant number of my colleagues did cast a vote against me. I've listened to what they have said," she added.

May said she now has a renewed mission to bring the country back together. She said, "Following this ballot we now need to get on with the job of delivering Brexit for the British people and building a better future for this country."

The Daily Telegraph in London said significant dangers to her premiership remain in the coming weeks.

May indicated ahead of the ballot that she would not lead the Conservative Party into the next British general election, due in 2022.

That assurance is said to have won her support from some MPs who otherwise would have voted against her.

One of May's fiercest critics, Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, described the result as terrible for May, but he said he accepted the confidence vote result, adding that May should still meet Queen Elizabeth II and resign.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour party, said the vote made no difference to the lives of British people.

"The prime minister has lost her majority in parliament, her government is in chaos and she is unable to deliver a Brexit deal that works for the country and puts jobs and the economy first," Corbyn said.

Corbyn said she must now bring her "dismal Brexit deal" back to the House of Commons next week so parliament can take back control.

He added it was clear May has not been able to negotiate the necessary changes to her deal in Europe.

"Labour is ready to govern for the whole country and deliver a deal that protects living standards and workers' rights," said Corbyn.

The result was welcomed by British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond. He said, "Tonight's vote of confidence in the Prime Minister is the right one. Now is the time to focus on the future. Her deal means we will honor the referendum result while safeguarding jobs and maintaining business confidence."

Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the result was a strong vote of support for May.

Owen Paterson, one of the MPs who confirmed he had written a letter of no confidence to help trigger the vote, described the result for May as very poor.

"She has secured well under half of the Backbench vote," he said. "She must now listen to those of us concerned that she is failing to deliver our clear manifesto pledges to leave Single Market, Customs Union and remit of European Court of Justice."

Nigel Farage, a member of the European Parliament (MEP) and co-founder the UK Independence Party (UKIP), the party set up decades ago to campaign for Britain's exit from the EU, said, "Mrs May limps on to her next failure, the deal won't pass and the real crisis is close."


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