Boris Johnson Narrowly Wins Vote of No Confidence Among His Own MPs

While the vote means Boris Johnson will remain as leader of the Conservative Party and UK Prime Minister, his authority has been severely shaken after 148 of his MPs voted against him.
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Photo: RICHARD POHLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has narrowly survived a confidence vote among his own Conservative MPs.

211 MPs voted in support of Johnson while 148 MPs voted against him, out of a total of 359 Tory MPs. While it means Johnson stays as Conservative Party leader and as Prime Minister, the number of his own MPs voting against him represents a serious blow to his authority.

The vote into Johnson’s leadership was called after at least 54 Conservative MPs – representing 15 percent of the parliamentary party – submitted letters to an internal committee saying they no longer had confidence in his leadership.

It followed a series of damaging revelations around alcohol-fuelled parties in and around Downing Street during COVID lockdowns in a scandal known as “partygate”. Anger has grown since an internal report published last month said there were “failures of leadership and judgement” in 10 Downing Street. 83 people who attended 16 events in or near Downing Street were fined by police following an investigation – including Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak.

At the time, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the report “lays bare the rot” of the government and how people in Downing Street "treated the sacrifice of the British people with utter contempt.”

One of the most damning assessments of Johnson came from Conservative MP Jesse Norman on Monday, who wrote: “Neither the Conservative Party nor this country can afford to squander the next two years adrift and distracted by endless debate about you and your leadership.”

Johnson won a huge majority of 80 seats in a general election in December 2019. The next general election can be held no later than January 2025, but is much more likely to be held in spring or summer months.