MPs have confidence in Government: no confidence motion defeated

16 January 2019

The House of Commons has expressed that it has confidence in Her Majesty's Government, voting against a motion of no confidence, 325 to 306.

The House of Commons debated the no confidence motion for six hours, with MPs making contributions in support of and against the Government.

Tabling the motion, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Opposition called for MPs to support his motion and bring about a General Election saying,

"This Government cannot govern and cannot command the support of Parliament on the most important issue facing our country. Every previous Prime Minister in this situation would have resigned and called an election. It is the duty of this House to show the lead where the Government have failed, and to pass a motion of no confidence so that the people of this country can decide who their MPs are."

The Prime Minister responded, standing up for her Government's strategy and asked for the support of the house. Closing her statement she said;

"As we leave the European Union, we must raise our sights to the kind of country we want to be—a nation that can respond to a call from its people for change; a nation that can build a better future for every one of its people; and a nation that knows that moderation and pragmatism are not dirty words, but how we work together to improve people’s lives. That is our mission. [...] We now ask for the confidence of this House. Reject this motion."

The House voted to reject the motion, 325 to 306 at 7pm, expressing confidence in the Government.

Following the vote the Prime Minister called on the House to work together,

"The House has put its confidence in this Government. I stand ready to work with any Member of the House to deliver on Brexit, and to ensure that this House retains the confidence of the British people."

Mrs May proposed a series of meetings with the Leaders of other parties, and said that she would return to the  House on Monday to table an amendable motion and make a statement on a way forward.

Background

After eight days of debate on the withdrawal agreement with the European Union, MPs rejected the Government's deal in the 'meaningful vote'. The Commons voted 432 to 202 - a majority of 230.

Following the result, the Prime Minister confirmed that if the official Opposition tabled a confidence motion, the Government would make time to debate the motion today. She went on to say that if the Government won the confidence motion, meetings will be held with members from across the House to determine what would be required to secure the backing of the House, which could then be discussed with the EU.

The Prime Minister concluded her statement with the following remarks:

"I have always believed that the best way forward is to leave in an orderly way with a good deal, and I have devoted much of the past two years to negotiating such a deal. As you confirmed, Mr Speaker, the amendment to the business motion tabled last week by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve) is not legally binding, but the Government respect the will of the House. We will therefore make a statement about the way forward and table an amendable motion by Monday."

The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, responded to the 'meaningful vote' result stating that it was the "greatest defeat for a Government in this House since the 1920s." He also confirmed that he had tabled a motion of no confidence in the Government and was "pleased that that motion will be debated tomorrow so that this House can give its verdict on the sheer incompetence of this Government and pass that motion of no confidence in the Government."

What is a motion of no confidence?

A motion of no confidence is a vote of confidence in the current Government. The wording for the motion is 'That this House has no confidence in HM Government'. If the motion is agreed to, the Government has 14 days to form a new government that is able to win a confidence motion in the House of Commons. If it is unable to do so, Parliament is dissolved and an early general election is called. 

House of Commons Library analysis

The House of Commons Library produces briefing papers to inform MPs and their staff of key issues. The papers contain factual information and a range of opinions on each subject, and aim to be politically impartial.

The Library published the following information relating to no confidence motions:

Image: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

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