Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, survived a no-confidence vote on Monday, earning enough support from his Conservative Party to save his job despite a significant rebellion that has left him vulnerable and insecure.
The charismatic leader, who is known for his ability to shrug off crises, has struggled to move on from reports that he and his staff held alcoholic parties in violation of the COVID-19 limitations they put on others.
His Conservative colleagues’ support has dwindled, as some consider a leader known for his ability to connect with voters as a liability rather than an asset in elections.
In a secret ballot, Johnson received the support of 211 out of 359 Conservative parliamentarians, far more than the simple majority required to stay in power, but still a considerable rebellion of 148 MPs.
“What this means is that as a government, we can move on and concentrate on issues that I believe are important to people.” “he stated
Most political analysts thought Johnson would defeat the challenge since there was no clear front-runner to follow him.
However, less than three years after leading the Conservative Party to its largest election victory in decades, the rebellion might be a watershed moment for him — and an indication of profound Conservative splits.
Johnson’s margin of victory is narrower than that of his predecessor, Theresa May, who won a comparable referendum in December 2018. Six months later, she was compelled to quit.
Since taking over as Prime Minister from Theresa May in 2019, Johnson has guided Britain out of the European Union and through a pandemic, both of which have shook the social and economic fabric of the United Kingdom.
The vote comes as Johnson’s government faces mounting pressure to lower increasing energy and food prices.
The news that he and his employees conducted unlawful parties during lockdowns have dealt the biggest damage to his leadership.
This sparked outrage across the country, as well as anxiety among many Conservatives.
After a 10-day parliamentary recess that included a lengthy weekend of celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, discontent that had been building for months erupted.
For many, the four-day weekend provided a chance to unwind — but not for Johnson, who was booed by some bystanders when he arrived at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Friday for a service in the queen’s honour.
Graham Brady, a Conservative Party official, stated Monday that he had received letters from at least 54 Tory legislators requesting a no-confidence vote, which is required by party rules.
Several hours later, dozens of party politicians lined up in a corridor at Parliament to cast their votes in a wood-paneled room, turning over their phones as they entered to preserve privacy.
Before the vote, Johnson spoke to dozens of Conservative legislators in a House of Commons chamber, promising: “I will lead you to victory again.””
Johnson’s supporters insisted that if he won by a single vote, he would continue in office.
Johnson had won the vote “handsomely,” according to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, who encouraged the party to “put a line under this now.”
“Pleased that colleagues have endorsed the Prime Minister,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, one of the frontrunners to follow Johnson if he is dismissed, tweeted. I wholeheartedly endorse him. Now is the time to get down to business.”
Previous prime ministers, on the other hand, who had survived no-confidence ballots, had been badly weakened.
Johnson was elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in July 2019, capping a wild ride to the top. He had held high-ranking positions, including London mayor and UK foreign secretary, yet he had also stepped down from politics due to self-inflicted gaffes.
He kept coming back, demonstrating an uncanny capacity to shrug off scandal and connect with people, which for many Conservatives outweighed concerns about his ethics and judgement.
Concerns were raised, however, with the release of an investigator’s report late last month, which lambasted a culture of rule-breaking inside the prime minister’s office in the “partygate” incident.”
When pandemic regulations barred UK residents from socialising or even visiting dying relatives, civil service investigator Sue Gray recounted alcohol-fueled parties hosted by Downing Street staff members in 2020 and 2021.
Johnson and senior officials, according to Gray, must take responsibility for “failures of leadership and judgement.””
Johnson was also fined £50 ($63) by police for attending one party, making him the first prime minister to face legal action while in office.
The prime minister expressed his “humbleness” and acceptance of “full responsibility,” but stated that he would not resign.
However, an increasing number of Conservatives believe Johnson is now a liability who would condemn the party to defeat in the 2024 election.
“Today’s choice is change or lose,” says the narrator “Jeremy Hunt, who competed against Johnson for the Conservative leadership in 2019 but has mostly avoided attacking him since, stated as much. “I’m going to vote for change.””
Longtime Johnson supporter Jesse Norman claimed that the prime minister had “presided over a culture of casual law-breaking” and had left the administration “adrift and preoccupied.”
Johnson is expected to face further pressure despite his triumph. The administration is being weighed down by the war in Ukraine, a smouldering post-Brexit dispute with the EU, and increasing inflation.
According to polls, the left-of-center opposition Labour Party is leading nationally, and the Conservatives may lose special elections for two parliamentary districts later this month, which were called after incumbent Tory legislators were thrown out due to sex scandals.
Johnson tried to stay on topic, promising colleagues that he will lower taxes — a favourite Conservative objective — and mentioning that he spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday.
He has been a prominent backer of Ukraine’s cause, and his potential successors are likely to follow in his footsteps.
Toppling Johnson now would be “indefensible,” according to Cabinet minister Steve Barclay, a Johnson loyalist.”
However, Steve Baker, a staunch Brexit supporter whose resistance to May aided Johnson’s ascension to power, said he was voting for Johnson to be removed because the prime minister had broken the law.
Before the election, he projected that Johnson would “officially win.” “However, he stated that this would not be sufficient to resolve the issue.
“I’m not sure what that signifies in the months ahead.” “Baker remarked.