Boris Johnson survives no-confidence vote in a victory of sorts
LONDON — U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a no-confidence vote Monday despite about 40% of lawmakers in his own Conservative party voting to get rid of him.
Of the 359 members of parliament who voted on Monday, 211 voted for Johnson to remain in power and 148 voted to say they did not have confidence in the prime minister.
While this is a victory of sorts for Johnson, the number of those who opposed him is far higher than most analysts had expected.
To put this in perspective, Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May, survived a no-confidence vote in December 2018 in which 117 Conservative Party lawmakers voted against her. By July the next year, after her party suffered defeats in European parliamentary elections, she stepped down.
Johnson is coming off an ignominious distinction: he recently became the first sitting prime minister officially found to have broken the law, due to his flouting of his own government's COVID-19 restrictions. And on Friday, he was loudly booed when he arrived at St Paul's Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving
marking Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee.
Johnson has long been seen as an entertaining cheerleader for his country as well as a person who sometimes breaks the rules. Johnson has often used his humor, charm as well as distractions to get out of tight spots. He is seen as Britain's Teflon politician — but his handling of COVID may finally stick.
How lawmakers forced Monday's vote At least 54 Conservative party lawmakers wrote letters calling for a no-confidence vote in the prime minister. Those letters accounted for 15% of Tory parliamentarians, the threshold required for triggering such a vote.
The Tory rebels needed the backing of at least 180 Conservative lawmakers out of 359 to vote Johnson out.
But since they failed to oust the prime minister, the rebels can't challenge him again for another 12 months, under the current rules.
Ahead of the vote, Johnson's team told his fellow Conservatives to slow down, warning that an internal clash would only help the Labour Party, the Conservatives' main opposition. They pointed to ongoing crises such as the war in Ukraine, where the U.K. has been a leader in arming the Ukrainian army. They also
urged lawmakers to focus on economic challenges, such as the rising cost of living for Britons.
The vote is a body shot to a bruised Johnson Johnson's brash style has found wide appeal in the U.K., but he's now facing a lot of public anger about the way he and his staff behaved during Britain's COVID lockdown.
Even though Johnson has survived the no-confidence vote, his missteps are prompting something of a clinical review by his political allies. Within his Conservative Party, some see Johnson as damaged goods, questioning whether he can
lead them into the next leadership election, which is expected in 2024.
Johnson still faces an investigation from the privileges committee into whether he misled parliament over Partygate. Additionally, there are two by-elections coming up for parliament seats that were previously held by members of the Conservative Party. If the party loses those seats, it would also not bode well for Johnson.