Boris Johnson survives vote of confidence in his leadership

Boris Johnson survives vote of confidence in his leadership

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a vote of confidence in his leadership, as 211 Conservative Party members of Parliament voted for him to stay on as their leader.

As many as 148 Tory members of Parliament voted against him a 58.8 per cent, against 41.2 per cent in the end result, Johnson insisted was decisively in his favour.

That figure led to his critics branding it a damaging outcome for his long-term future as the party leader, while his supporters point out he has the backing of a majority of his party.

In response to the ballot, Johnson said that this is a very good result for politics and the country.

In this sense I think it's a convincing result, a decisive result, and what it means is that as a government we can focus on things that I think really matters to people. He said that I've got a much bigger mandate from my parliamentary colleagues than I had in 2019, he said.

It ended off a frenzied day of political high drama and speculation as Johnson, 57, made personal pleas to his party backbenchers to keep faith in him as Prime Minister despite the bruising partygate scandal of COVID law-breaking parties at Downing Street and across government offices.

The vote is held in a secret ballot with 180 being cut off for Johnson to win the challenge, given the halfway mark of the Tory parliamentary party membership of 359 if abstentions are not taken into account.

His allies wanted to stress that a victory in the contest would put a rest to an issue that had overshadowed the government's focus on other pressing political concerns, even though it was just one vote.

Tonight is a chance to end months of speculation and allow the government to move on, delivering on the people's priorities, the Downing Street said in a statement.

The PM welcomes the opportunity to make his case to MPs and will remind them that when they focus on the issues that matter to voters there is no more formidable political force, it said.

Sir Graham Brady, chair of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory backbench MPs, declared he had received the requisite 54 letters of no-confidence to trigger the vote.

The political consensus is that he is by no means home safe, with two important by-elections looming on June 23 and a big defeat in those may be taken as a public referendum against his leadership and to keep the discontent on the backbenches alive.

In many ways, the clock is still ticking on Johnson's leadership as his hold on the party has been shaken.

A victory in a no-confidence vote back in 2018 did not prevent Johnson's forced exit a few months later, in the case of Downing Street's predecessor, Theresa May.

Since Sue Gray released her official report into lock-down parties within government offices last month, the Cabinet rallied to the PM's side including Indian-origin Chancellor and potential frontrunner for top job Rishi Sunak.

The PM has won the confidence vote and now it is time to move forward. Sunak tweeted on Monday night that they would get back to work on growing the economy and delivering better public services.

Ahead of the vote, Johnson wrote to his backbenchers to drum up their support and also addressed them privately a few hours before the ballot took place.

The former UK Foreign and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who called for the party to vote for change in the secret ballot, was the frontrunner in the backbench rebellion.

Johnson has been successful in holding onto his position as party leader and UK Prime Minister for now.