British Prime Minister Boris Johnson narrowly won a confidence vote among his own lawmakers Monday, leaving him damaged but still in power and his ruling Conservative Party bitterly divided over its once-talismanic leader, who has become beset by scandal.
The confidence vote was triggered after more than 15 percent of Conservative members of Parliament, 54, submitted letters calling for him to go.
Johnson won by 211 votes to 148 in a high-drama secret ballot in Parliament that threatened to oust him from power. That’s a majority of just 63, dividing his party 59 percent to 41 percent.
This was a bigger revolt than Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May came up against. Theresa May won the vote of confidence but stepped down 6 months later.
Graham Brady, who is chairman of the 1922 Committee, which oversees leadership challenges inside the party, told reporters earlier Monday that while rules can be amended “technically,” adding that “the rule at the moment is there would be a period of grace.” Johnson is immune from another vote of confidence for 12 months. It is possible for these rules to change, however.
Johnson said the vote was “a very good result for politics and the country.” He said in a broadcast interview that it was an “opportunity to put behind us all the stuff that the media have wanted us to focus on for quite a long time.”
Poll rating for Johnson and his party have plumetted following the revelations that he and aides held a string of alcohol-fueled parties in violation of Covid-19 restrictions, a scandal known as “partygate.”
Johnson and his wife Carrie were booed by a section of the crowd when they arrived at the Queen’s jubilee.
Opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer criticized the result, saying the Conservatives had “ignored the British public.”
Andrea Leadsom, who is a former cabinet minister who lost her job under Boris Johnson and said she would vote no confidence in him, has this morning said “we’re getting on with business.” When asked if the party needs to unite behind Johnson, Leadsom says the party gave its verdict yesterday, and that “today is another day – we move on.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: LEMONDE.FR