Johnson limps on after winning confidence vote
Boris Johnson narrowly won a confidence vote among Tory MPs and will limp on as Prime Minister for at least another year.
Mr Johnson secured support from 211 of the party’s 359 MPs, though 148 opposed his remaining in Downing Street.
The 58.8% majority was enough to suggest he will lead the party into the next general election but is an indication of the discontent over the damage done to the party over the lockdown breaches.
The result of the vote was announced by Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee.
Mr Johnson tonight declared it was a “convincing” result and said it is time for the party to “move on” and focus on the “things that really matter to people”.
However, when 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.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was scathing about the Tories who supported Mr Johnson, He said: “Conservative MPs made their choice tonight. They have ignored the British public and hitched themselves and their party firmly to Boris Johnson and all he represents.
“The Conservative Party now believes that good government focused on improving lives is too much to ask. The Conservative Party now believes that breaking the law is no impediment to making the law. The Conservative Party now believes that the British public have no right to expect honest politicians.”
SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford said: “Tory MPs should have drawn a line under Boris Johnson’s disastrous time as Prime Minister but instead they’ve bottled it – allowing this damaging circus to continue and leaving the Westminster government in crisis.
“The UK is now stuck in limbo with a lame duck Prime Minister who has lost the confidence of the public – and more than forty per cent of his own MPs – and is left limping around on borrowed time while the Tory party descends into bitter division.”
Earlier, the London stock market‘s blue chip index, the FTSE 100, closed 75.3 points higher as traders expected Mr Johnson to survive. He required 180 votes to hold on to his job.
Among those who opposed him was Scottish Conservative party leader Douglas Ross who said has “heard loud and clear the anger at the breaking of Covid rules” and “cannot in good faith support Boris Johnson”.
Mr Ross’s position as Tory leader at Holyrood may now be in question, given that he now has to defend a Westminster government led by a Prime Minister he has decided is not worthy of the office.
Fellow Tory MPs Andrew Bowie, John Lamont and David Mundell also voted to remove Mr Johnson. Scottish Secretary Alister Jack and David Duguid backed the Prime Minister.
After winning the vote, Mr Johnson will now have to work on uniting his party and convince members that he can win back voters who have turned their back on him over the Downing Street parties scandal.
The long term survival rate of PMs after a confidence vote is not good one. Theresa May did not remain for long in Downing Street even after winning a vote.
Polling shows the Conservatives likely to lose a by-election in Wakefield, one of the constituencies Mr Johnson took from Labour in the so-called Red Wall during his 2019 landslide general election win.
The Tiverton and Honiton by-election due to be held on the same day, 23 June, is likely to be taken by the Liberal Democrats.
The by-elections will be the first electoral test for the Tories since publication of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report on the lockdown rule-breaching events in Downing Street and Whitehall.
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