British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has narrowly survived a vote of no confidence by Conservative Party lawmakers Monday evening, prevailing despite deep disgust over lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street and broad discontent with his leadership, which one former ally branded a “charade.”
The result means Johnson has survived the confidence vote brought by his own party
The win comes despite a substantial rebellion by his own members of parliament.
Johnson says the government can now “move on” following the “decisive” result
Under the current rules of the Conservative Party, the PM cannot be challenged in a leadership vote again for 12 months
The confidence vote follows anger over Sue Gray’s report detailing lockdown rule-breaking in Downing Street.
Though he held on to his job, the vote was remarkably close for a prime minister who helped the Conservatives win a landslide election in 2019.
His salvation may have been the lack of an obvious successor within the party.
Johnson had framed the vote as “a golden chance” to “end the media’s favorite obsession” with the boozy pandemic gatherings at his offices. And when the result was tallied, he told broadcasters it was “convincing” and “decisive” and allowed the Tories to “move on” and “focus on the stuff that I think really matters to people.”
But there remains an active open rebellion within his party, with many top voices now on-the-record saying this prime minister is unfit to serve. Fellow Conservative Party lawmakers have questioned his truthfulness and complained that his administration is reactive and adrift.
How Johnson proceeds with his domestic and foreign agenda is unclear. Though he can fight another day, he is a wounded leader. He and the Conservatives will struggle to rebuild their brand in the face of soaring inflation and diminished public trust. And allies in Europe and the United States are now on notice that his authority has been undercut by his own doing.
Surviving a no-confidence vote under the current rules insulates Johnson from additional party challenges for a year. But those rules can be changed.