Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won the vote of no confidence challenge from within his party on Monday, with 211 Tory MPs backing their current leader and 148 voting to replace him. Despite receiving enough votes to stay in power, the result can be interpreted as a heavy blow to Johnson.
The vote was triggered by Tory MPs, and the vote was held by secret ballots, making it difficult to estimate beforehand how many conservatives would vote to keep their current leader in the office. The result – around 40% of Tory parliamentarians voting to oust the sitting PM – is historically the worst outcome among all PMs who survived a confidence vote.
Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May won her confidence vote by a bigger margin, yet she was still pressured into resigning in the following months, despite the fact that winning the vote means no further vote of no confidence can be called for another year.
Johnson will now likely be hobbled in his policies, with the number of his opponents within their party far exceeding the Tory majority of just 80 MPs in the parliament. The size of the Tory rebellion – much larger than Johnson and his backers anticipated – means he will now have to battle to regain the trust of the public and of his colleagues.
After the result was announced late Monday, Johnson’s backers called for their colleagues and the general public to “move on” from the issues that prompted the vote in the first place – ostensibly the so-called “partygate” scandal, in which it was revealed that the Prime Minister held a series of parties in his office at the time when strict coronavirus measures forbade such gatherings. However, many Tory MPs are privately also worried about the party’s declining ratings, putting the party en route to a devastating loss in the next general election.
In a statement released by Johnson’s office on Monday evening, the PM announced that he would soon meet with his most senior allies, finally moving on from questions about his leadership, and presenting his vision for the coming weeks, such as new policies designed to reduce childcare costs and assist more citizens with buying their own homes.
“This is a government that delivers on what the people of this country care about most,” said the statement. “We are on the side of hard-working British people, and we are going to get on with the job.”