Saturday. 26.11.2022
BRITAIN

Boris Johnson left wounded despite winning confidence vote

When his predecessor Theresa May faced a confidence vote in 2018, she secured the support of 63% of her MPs but was still forced out within six months

06 June 2022, United Kingdom, London: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, speaks after surviving an attempt by Tory MPs to oust him as party leader following a confidence vote in his leadership. Photo: Pa/PA Wire/dpa.
Boris Johnson, speaks after surviving an attempt by Tory MPs to oust him as party leader following a confidence vote. Photo: PA Wire/dpa.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted he had secured a "decisive" victory despite a confidence vote which saw 148 Conservative members of parliament attempt to oust him.

Conservative MPs voted by 211 to 148 in support of the prime minister on Monday, but the scale of the revolt against his leadership leaves Johnson wounded.

When his predecessor Theresa May faced a confidence vote in 2018, she secured the support of 63% of her MPs but was still forced out within six months.

Johnson saw 41% of his MPs vote against him, a worse result than May's. But the Prime Minister told reporters in Downing Street: "I think it's an extremely good, positive, conclusive, decisive result which enables us to move on, to unite and to focus on delivery and that is exactly what we are going to do."

He rejected the assertion that he was now a lame duck prime minister who needed to call a snap election to secure a new mandate from the public, insisting he was focused on the public's priorities.

The scale of the revolt against Johnson's leadership has left him vulnerable, and he could suffer further blows in two key by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton on June 23.

But he was bullish as he told reporters that he had secured a "very good result for politics and for the country."

The ballot was triggered after at least 54 MPs - 15% of the party's representatives in the House of Commons - formally indicated they had no confidence in the prime minister.

Johnson made a last-ditch plea to Conservative MPs to back him ahead of Monday's vote, promising future tax cuts and highlighting his own record of electoral success.

But with concern over the partygate scandal, economic policy, drifting opinion polls and Johnson's style of leadership, the prime minister was unable to win round four in 10 of his MPs.

Public unhappiness

He reminded a private meeting of Conservative MPs that under his leadership the party had won its biggest electoral victory in 40 years, and pledged that Chancellor Rishi Sunak would say more about tax cuts in the coming weeks.

Johnson's allies insisted his victory should draw a line under the question of his leadership. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, both tipped as future leadership contenders, backed Johnson following the vote.

But Labour Party leader and leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer said Johnson was "utterly unfit for the great office he holds."

"Conservative MPs made their choice," Starmer said, adding: "They have ignored the British public and hitched themselves and their party firmly to Boris Johnson and all he represents."

The confidence vote was prompted by growing public unhappiness with Johnson after the Metropolitan Police fined him and multiple others in government over a series of parties held in government offices at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in breach of lockdown rules.

By surviving the confidence vote, under Conservative Party rules Johnson cannot face another challenge for at least a year. However, many political commentators believe that losing the backing of 148 of his own MPs could herald the beginning of the end for the prime minister.

Boris Johnson left wounded despite winning confidence vote
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