UK PM Boris Johnson wins confidence vote despite party rebellion
British PM Boris Johnson won a no-confidence vote on his leadership of the Conservative Party on Monday and will thus continue to remain the prime minister. Johnson won the support of 211 out of 359 lawmakers. However, he faced a large rebellion from his party members over the "partygate" scandal involving him and his staff at Downing Street during the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020-21.
- Johnson, who was once seen as unassailable after the 2019 election win, has a major task in hand to rebuild the unity of the Conservative Party.
- In 2018, PM Theresa May faced a no-confidence motion and won. However, Johnson's vote share was lower than what May had received before she resigned six months later over a Brexit deadlock.
To note, nearly 41% of lawmakers voted against Johnson raising questions over his authority to govern Britain and calling him to resign. Johnson, who had assumed office in 2019, was informed last week that he would face a vote on his leadership after 15% of lawmakers had sent letters of no-confidence in him to Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservative Party's parliamentary group.
The win on Monday has ensured that Johnson won't face another no-confidence motion for a year under the current Conservative Party rules. However, with two important by-elections on June 23, Johnson is in no way absolutely safe as a big defeat in those could mean that the public was against his leadership and the dissenters would get another chance to go against him.
Johnson described the vote as a "decisive result" which meant that as a government, they could focus on what they would be doing to help people with the cost of living—the stuff that really mattered. "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," Downing Street said.
PM Johnson has been in the middle of the "partygate" scandal ever since reports of "bring-your-own-booze" (BYOB) parties in and around Downing Street during the COVID-19-induced lockdowns were published. The parties breached the strict COVID-19 restrictions and were illegal. In his defense, Johnson had said that it "did not occur to me" that the "birthday gathering, complete with a cake, was a party."