Vote Of Confidence Against Britain’s Highest Profile Post-War Politician

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  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face a vote of confidence on Monday.
  • If Johnson wins the vote, he will remain both as leader of the party and as Prime Minister.
  • A defeat in the vote on Monday would effectively end the career of one of Britain’s highest-profile post-war politicians.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face a vote of confidence on Monday, triggered by discontented lawmakers in his own party, says an article published in CNN.

A majority vote against Johnson

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, said in a statement Monday that the number of Conservative Party parliamentarians calling for the vote had reached the necessary threshold. The vote will be held between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. local time on Monday.

If 180 Conservative lawmakers — a simple majority — vote against Johnson, he will cease to be leader of the governing Conservative Party and will be removed from office, less than three years after winning a general election in a landslide.

If Johnson wins the vote, he will remain both as leader of the party and as Prime Minister.

Johnson’s premiership has been shaken by the so-called “Partygate” scandal, with months of allegations of parties and gatherings at the heart of his government during various stages of pandemic lockdown eroding confidence in his leadership.

Two difficult elections

A damning report by a senior civil servant, published late last month, found a culture of partying and socializing among Johnson’s staff while millions of Britons were banned from seeing their friends and relatives. He has also been criticized for his response to a cost-of-living crisis.

The PM’s approval ratings have been plunging and there has been a growing sense among some parts of his ruling Conservative Party that he is becoming a liability. The party is facing two difficult parliamentary by-elections later this month.

A Downing Street spokesperson said Monday that Johnson “welcomes the opportunity to make his case to MPs.”

“Tonight is a chance to end months of speculation and allow the government to draw a line and move on, delivering on the people’s priorities,” the spokesperson said, adding that Johnson will “remind [the MPs] that when they’re united and focused on the issues that matter to voters there is no more formidable political force.”

In a sign of the public’s displeasure, the Prime Minister was booed Friday by some members of public as he arrived at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving held as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Johnson’s defense

Johnson’s backers have rushed to his defense in recent weeks, arguing that it is not the right time to trigger a leadership contest given the multitude of crises the country is facing — including the war in Ukraine.

Several of Johnson’s top ministers have already declared their support for him. UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she was firmly behind Johnson. “The Prime Minister has my 100% backing in today’s vote and I strongly encourage colleagues to support him,” Truss posted on Twitter.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak also tweeted that he would back Johnson in the vote and “will continue to back him as we focus on growing the economy, tackling the cost of living and clearing the Covid backlogs.”

Party rules

Under Conservative Party rules, if MPs want to get rid of their leader, they submit a confidential letter of no confidence to the chair of the 1922 Committee, a group of backbench lawmakers who do not hold government posts. The process is murky — the letters are kept secret and the chairman, Graham Brady, doesn’t even reveal how many have been handed in.

When 15% of Conservative lawmakers have submitted letters, a vote of confidence is triggered among all Conservative lawmakers. The current makeup of the House of Commons means that at least 54 MPs have submitted letters of no confidence.

Britain’s high profile politician

A defeat in the vote on Monday would effectively end the career of one of Britain’s highest-profile post-war politicians. In that event, he would likely remain as prime minister until a new Conservative candidate was elected to lead the party; at that point, Johnson would inform the Queen of his intention to resign as prime minister and recommend that whoever won the contest was invited to form a government.

If Johnson wins the vote comfortably, he could arguably emerge stronger within his party, which has struggled to identify a rival politician to challenge Johnson in recent months.

A narrow win, by contrast, would leave Johnson’s reputation diminished even if it does not topple his government. The Conservatives face two parliamentary by-elections in late June after two of their backbenchers were forced to resign amid their own scandals — disappointing results in those could heap more pressure on Johnson ahead of a national general election expected in 2024.

Dogged by accusations

Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May was the last sitting British leader to face a no-confidence vote from their own party. May narrowly survived that vote, called amid months of chaos over her doomed Brexit deal, but ultimately resigned months later.

The scandal over parties is not the first to dent Johnson’s reputation. He has been dogged by accusations that he accepted improper donations to fund a renovation of his Downing Street apartment, while his government has been accused of handing lucrative Covid-19 contracts to people with links to the Conservative Party. Johnson’s spokesman has insisted he “acted in accordance with the rules at all times.”

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Source: CNN

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