His fate is decided tonight, one day after Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee celebrations ended. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face a vote of confidence in his leadership of the Conservative Party, after enough MPs sent letters asking for it.
It will take place between 6pm and 8pm this evening (British time) in the House of Commons. An announcement of the result is expected one hour after voting closes.
For the prime minister to be removed, half of the Conservative MPs plus one would have to vote against him. need 180 votes.
If he wins, he will remain as party leader and prime minister and will be immune from another similar challenge for a year. But if he loses, a contest will be held to choose a new party leader and prime minister, and Johnson will have to resign.
The prime minister has an open invitation to speak before the 1922 Committee. But it is not known if he will do so.
The reasons for the vote of confidence are the “Partygate” during the COVID lockdown in Downing St. But especially Boris Johnson’s lies and hesitations about the case. At the Jubilee celebrations he was booed twice in public.
An image of “Partygate”, the scandal that put Boris Johnson in check. (Reuter)
Those who ask you to leave
In a statement, Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Conservative Committee, revealed that 54 MPs, representing 15 per cent of the parliamentary party, have now lost faith in Johnson’s leadership and want to remove him.
The prime minister is confident that he has the support to overcome a challenge. The Tory rebels need 180 votes to remove him from office.
Over the weekend, the rebels circulated a one-page memorandum listing 13 reasons to remove the prime minister. They concluded that the “only way to restore the Conservatives’ fortunes, to the point where we can win the next general election, is to impeach Boris Johnson.”
Jesse Norman, a former Treasury secretary, published his letter this morning asking for Johnson to leave. “I have supported Boris Johnson for 15 years, for Mayor of London and for Prime Minister,” he said. “Very sadly, I have written to tell you that I can no longer do this.”
“It’s the beginning of the end for Johnson,” said Sir Keir Starmer, the Labor leader. Conservative MPs “need to show some leadership and vote against the prime minister”, adding that it was “acting in the national interest” he added.
Starmer is also facing pressure over allegations that he attended an illegal gathering in Durham during the lockdown. He has promised to walk away if he is fined by police and said he will not show up again. “I knew instinctively what I was going to do and I will stick with it,” he said.
a ruthless battle
Boris Johnson has warned Conservative MPs that a leadership contest would be “ruthless and tear the party apart”. Downing St announced: “The only person who will benefit is Keir Starmer.”
Labor leader Kei Starmer. (AP)
In a one-page, 12-point document, the British government house argued that backing Johnson “can put the distraction of recent months behind us.” He argues that “a leadership competition would be a distraction during the cost-of-living crisis and the war in Ukraine.”
By backing Johnson, the document states, Conservative MPs can “choose to focus on growing the economy, cutting taxes and making our streets safer.”
Downing St announced that the Prime Minister has “fully cooperated” with investigations into the Downing Street parties and has a new team. They argue that Johnson “led this country through the greatest peacetime crisis in centuries” during the coronavirus pandemic.
In an effort to reassure MPs, Downing St said Johnson is a “thoroughly tried and tested election winner”. They explained that ruling parties are often hurt in the polls in the middle of a term.
At least 54 letters with the order
After months of speculation, it has been confirmed that at least 54 MPs, 15% of Conservative MPs, have written to the Chairman of the 1922 Conservative MPs Committee, Sir Graham Brady, asking for a vote.
Sir Brady who notified the Prime Minister on Sunday that the number of letters with requests had been reached and they agreed the times for the vote together.
Sir Graham said he would not reveal when the number of letters was reached by requesting it or how many letters were sent. But “it wouldn’t be a bad description” to say that some MPs had asked for their letters to be postdated to ensure the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The celebrations were not interrupted.
Boris Johnson will make an NHS announcement in a bid to move past partygate as a resounding poll predicts a by-election thrashing for the Conservatives.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “Tonight is an opportunity to end months of speculation and allow the government to draw a line and move forward, delivering on people’s priorities.
“The Prime Minister welcomes the opportunity to make his case to MPs and will remind them that when they are united and focused on the issues that matter to voters, there is no more formidable political force.”
The Conservative Whips, who are calling for a vote for the premier, will now meet the prime minister and try to rally MPs to support him in tonight’s vote.
Party Gate Effect
The letters came after a sustained period of pressure on the prime minister over revelations of lockdown-breaking events in Downing Street and Whitehall, for which Johnson was fined once.
Following the publication of civil servant Sue Gray’s damning and comprehensive report on Party Gate, there has been a surge of Conservative MPs calling for the Prime Minister to go.
Sue Gray’s discoveries prompted enough MPs to send letters. The prime minister now faces a vote on his leadership, just under two-and-a-half years after he won the largest Conservative majority since the 1980s.
Those loyal to Boris
Moments after Sir Graham announced that a no-confidence motion would take place, MPs loyal to Johnson voiced their support.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the prime minister has my “100% backing.”
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said “the Prime Minister has my full support in today’s vote” and Leveling Up Secretary Michael Gove said he is voting for the Prime Minister and “we need to get through this moment and unite” behind him.
Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury, said the prime minister has shown “real leadership” and that it is “very clear” that only Johnson won the 2019 election.
Finance chancellor Rishi Sunak stated that he is backing the prime minister as he has “shown the strong leadership our country needs”.
Chris Clarkson, who is among the 2019 Conservative MPs who helped the prime minister win a large majority, said the vote was “absolutely brilliant” and blamed “a handful of malcontents who have not provided a coherent alternative plan for the country”.