May won the backing of 200 Conservative lawmakers, but 117 voted to oust her — and only after she conceded she would step down before the 2022 election.
“I’m pleased to have received the backing of my colleagues in tonight’s ballot,” she said outside her Downing Street office after the result was announced.
“A significant number of colleagues did cast votes against me and I’ve listened to what they’ve said.”
She said she wanted to “get on with the job of delivering Brexit”, and to see “politicians on all sides coming together”.
The result, announced after a secret ballot, was met with huge cheers from May’s supporters gathered in parliament, while the pound rose on the news.
But leading Brexit rebel Jacob Rees-Mogg, one of at least 48 Tory MPs who triggered the vote by writing a letter of no confidence in May, said it was a “terrible result”.
“She ought to go and see the queen and resign urgently,” he told the BBC.
Brexit figurehead Nigel Farage tweeted that May “limps on to her next failure, the deal won’t pass and the real crisis is close”.
Rees-Mogg and other eurosceptics hate the divorce deal May agreed with the EU last month, which they fear risks tying Britain to the bloc for years after Brexit on March 29.
The confidence vote followed her decision on Monday to postpone a planned vote in the House of Commons on the text, because she feared a crushing defeat.
She has promised to hold that vote by January 21 — when she may yet still lose, plunging the Brexit process into fresh crisi