LONDON — Britain’s ruling Tories will hold a no-confidence vote on Monday that could oust Prime Minister Boris Johnson from power, after months of growing discontent with a divisive politician whose career has survived multiple ups and downs. down.
If Johnson loses the vote among the 359 Tory lawmakers, the party will choose a new leader, who will also become prime minister. If he wins, he won’t be able to take another challenge for a year under current party rules.
While Johnson has weathered many political storms, he has recently struggled to turn the page on months of ethical scandals, including over parties breaking rules in government buildings during COVID-19 shutdowns.
Revelations that the Prime Minister and his staff repeatedly flouted the restrictions they imposed on Britain in 2020 and 2021 have fueled outrage in the country over the scandal known as ‘partygate’ .
Conservative Party official Graham Brady announced on Monday that he had received enough letters from lawmakers demanding a vote on Johnson’s leadership to trigger one. This happens if 54 Tory lawmakers – 15% of the party’s constituency in the House of Commons – write to Brady.
“The 15% threshold has been exceeded,” Brady said. He said the vote would take place in person in the House of Commons on Monday evening, with the result to be announced soon after.
Johnson’s Downing Street office said the prime minister welcomed the vote.
“Tonight is an opportunity to end months of speculation and allow the government to draw a line and move forward, respecting the priorities of the people,” he said. .
Late last month, a ‘partygate’ investigator’s report exposed a culture of non-compliance within the Prime Minister’s Office in Downing Street.
Civil Service Investigator Sue Gray described booze parties hosted by Downing Street staff at a time when pandemic restrictions meant UK residents were unable to socialize or even visit dying relatives.
Gray said the “executive team” must take responsibility for “failures in leadership and judgment.”
The Prime Minister said he was ‘humbled’ and took ‘full responsibility’ – but insisted he would not step down. He urged Britons to “move on” and focus on Britain’s struggling economy and the war in Ukraine.
But a growing number of Tories believe that Johnson, the charismatic leader who won them a huge parliamentary majority in 2019, is now a liability.
If Johnson is ousted, it would trigger a Tory leadership race, in which several prominent government ministers are likely to run.
Tory lawmaker Roger Gale, a Johnson critic, said “we have some very good alternatives to the prime minister, so we’re not short on choice.”
“Any of these people, in my opinion, would make a better prime minister than the one we have now,” he told the BBC.
Discontent appears to have reached fever pitch after a break in Parliament which coincided with Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. For many, the four-day long weekend was a chance to relax – but there was no respite for Johnson, who was booed by onlookers as he arrived for a serve in the honor of the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday.
Cabinet Secretary Steve Barclay, an ally of Johnson, said overthrowing the leader now would be “indefensible”.
“The problems we face are not easy to solve,” he wrote on the conservative Home website. “Democracies around the world are currently facing similar challenges. But under Boris Johnson’s leadership, our jobs plan shows how we navigate these global challenges.
“To halt this progress now would be inexcusable for many of those who first lent us their vote in the last general election and want to see our Prime Minister deliver the promised changes for their communities.