A Downing Street spokesman said:
“The House of Commons has clearly voted against this motion.
“We understand that many people who voted for it felt very strongly - and we respect that. However, the Government has to do what is in the national interest. The easy thing to do would have been for us to have avoided expressing a view. It was important to take a strong lead - because Britain’s best interests are served by being in the EU.
“The PM has made clear that he shares the yearning for fundamental reform of the EU and is determined to achieve that.”