Unusually, the vote was tabled by the Government because it refused to accept the wording of a Labour motion after Boris Johnson announced he was staying on as Prime Minister until the autumn.
MPs were asked whether "this House has confidence in Her Majesty's government", with defeat almost certainly triggering a general election.
The Burnley MP did not vote on the motion, unlike almost all his Conservative colleagues, though it passed 349-238.
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A spokesman for Mr Higginbotham said: “Antony was on an official Parliamentary delgation for the vote and was paired by the whips office. Had he been voting, he would of course have supported the Government.
“He believes it’s this Government which has delivered more for Burnley and Padiham than any other. Not least the tens of millions of pounds of direct government investment, and a huge expansion in FE and HE provision to increase opportunity locally.”
Abstaining or not voting on the motion were just 16 Labour MPs, 12 Tory MPs, seven SNP MPs, two DUP MPs, six Independent MPs, one SDLP MP, two Alba Party MPs and two Lib Dem MPs.
Conservative Tobias Ellwood, the MP for Bournemouth East, had the whip withdrawn after he did not return from a trip aboard to take part in the vote. As such, will no longer be eligible to vote in the Tory party’s leadership election.
While MPs may purposefully abstain on a motion, some may not have voted for other reasons, such as illness.
Meanwhile, 342 Tory MPs, six DUP MPs and one Independent MP voted for it.
And 181 Labour MPs, 37 SNP MPs, 12 Lib Dem MPs, two Independent MPs, one SDLP MP, one Alliance MP, three Plaid Cymru MPs and one Green Party MP voted against it.
The vote counts do not include the four MPs who acted as tellers, the seven Sinn Féin MPs who do not take their seats, the Speaker or the three Deputy Speakers.