British PM Boris Johnson Barely Scrapes Through No Confidence Vote; Tory Party Remains Divided

Swarajya Staff

Jun 07, 2022, 12:25 PM | Updated 12:50 PM IST

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

On Monday night, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a no confidence vote. Reports indicating the possibility of a no confidence vote began back when details of Partygate scandal emerged.

Out of the 359 Tory MPs, 211 MPs voted in his favour and 148 MPs voted against him. That is more than the number of MPs who voted against Theresa May, Johnson's predecessor. May, although managed to survived the no confidence vote, eventually resigned few months later. The same happened with Margaret Thatcher.

In a radio programme before the vote, the leader of Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer said that the PM is "damaged goods".

Johnson on his part has attempted to portray this vote as a distraction and after barely scraping through the vote, called on his fellow Tory MPs to focus on policy.

"This is a very good result for politics and the country. It’s a convincing result, a decisive result," said Johnson.

As per party rules, Johnson cannot be challenged with another no confidence vote for at least a year now.

Although, conservative prime ministers have a history of scraping through no confidence vote initiated against them and then loosing office shortly afterwards. Be it Thatcher, John Major or Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May.

The scale of Johnson's victory is less than what was expected and narrower than May's victory. 59 per cent MPs voted in his favour and 41 per cent against him. In his predecessor's case, 63 per cent voted in her favour and 37 per cent against.

Johnson has reasons to believe that his fate will not be similar to May's. Under Johnson's leadership the Tory party won a thumping majority in the general elections, breaking the northern wall of labour.

According to a report from the FT, Johnson, whilst addressing fellow Tory MPs in a closed door meeting, said that he did not regret attending parties during Covid-19 lockdowns for members of staff and “would do it again".

The report states that Johnson's comment surprised people in the room.

The Conservatives are due for by-elections in two seats later this month. Wakefield in the north of England and Tiverton and Honiton in the south-west. Results of this by elections will be closely observed.

Despite winning the vote, the British Prime Minister is now weaker. Tory rebels may attempt to block his legislations. There are even reports of Tory rebels discussing the possibility of amending the party rules to allow another confidence vote this year.

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