Sunderland MP calls for second Brexit referendum after Prime Minister Theresa May survives confidence vote

A Sunderland MP has urged Theresa May to hold a second Brexit referendum after surviving a confidence vote in Parliament.

Thursday, 13th December 2018, 10:44 am
Updated Thursday, 13th December 2018, 10:50 am
Theresa May speaks to the media after last night's vote

The Prime Minister heads to Brussels today, seeking fresh concessions for her Brexit deal after emerging victorious from a vote by Tory MPs.

She will address EU leaders at the two-day European Council after seeing off rebels who attempted to remove her from the party leadership, winning by 200 votes to 117 in a secret ballot.

Robert Oliver

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After a day of drama in Westminster, the Prime Minister was still faced with the dilemma of how to convince the EU to tweak the Withdrawal Agreement so that it will be passed by Parliament.

Speaking in Downing Street moments after the result was announced, Mrs May acknowledged that a "significant" number of her MPs had voted against her and said: "I have listened to what they said."

She pledged to seek "legal and political assurances" on the Brexit backstop to allay MPs' concerns about her Withdrawal Agreement when she attends a European Council summit in Brussels on Thursday.

And she said she and her administration had a "renewed mission", saying: "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."

Julie Elliott

She said this must involve "politicians of all sides coming together and acting in the national interest".

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott said the vote had left the Prime Minister weakened and underlined the case for a second referendum: "The Prime Minister is in a much weaker position this morning as she heads back to Europe to seek reassurances around the backstop on her Brexit deal.

"None of this alters the fact that her deal does not have a majority in Parliament.

"The PM needs to bring this back to Parliament now and when she loses the vote, as she will, put the question back to the people and have a People's Vote."

But Sunderland Conservative leader Coun Robert Oliver dismissed calls for another ballot.

"Theresa May has won the confidence of 63% of her party's MPs and she has the legitimacy to continue and does so with the support of Sunderland Conservatives," he said.

"Jeremy Corbyn, by contrast, lost the confidence of his party - including all three Sunderland MPs - and continues in place despite this.

"The people of Sunderland overwhelmingly voted for Brexit which must now be delivered and any talk of a second referendum by Sunderland's MPs has to end."