The Tory leader survived a no-confidence vote by his own MPs on a day of drama in Westminster – but the echoes will ricochet for months after a string of high-profile Conservatives blasted his leadership
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The humiliated Boris Johnson retained his position as Prime Minister tonight after surviving a historic no-confidence vote by his own MPs.
The Tory leader won the election by a vote of 211 to 148 after months of claiming he lied about parties at Downing Street.
But he was humbled with a cloud over his future after 41% of his own MPs voted to oust him – just 906 days after his landslide in the 2019 election.
The extraordinary outcome is worse than the 117 MPs who tried to oust Theresa May over Brexit.
Ms May won 63% of the vote in her own no-confidence vote in December 2018 – but she was forced to resign just five months later
Technically, the Tory leader cannot be re-challenged for a year. But Tory MPs, including Jeremy Hunt, today warned Mr Johnson will lead them to defeat in the next general election.
And its survival will throw the party into further disarray if the Tories lose the tough by-elections in Wakefield or Tiverton on June 23.
The chaos could deepen when the Commons Privileges Committee finally comes up with a report on whether he lied about Partygate – which isn’t expected until October or November.
The 1922 Tory MPs backbench committee could decide to scrap or shorten the one-year grace period in the future.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said a “divided” Conservative Party was “supporting” Boris Johnson.
“The choice is clearer than ever: divided Tories back Boris Johnson with no plan to address the issues you face,” he tweeted.
“Or a united Labor Party with a plan to solve the cost of living crisis and restore confidence in politics.
In a day of drama in Westminster, the long-awaited vote was confirmed just after 8am – and a number of prominent MPs savagedly exited Boris Johnson.
The Prime Minister’s anti-corruption advocate, Tory MP John Penrose, resigned, saying: “It’s pretty clear he broke the ministerial code in a very material way”.
Senior Rep. Jesse Norman urged him to leave not only because of Partygate, but also because of the “culture war” policy, which he felt was illegal.
And Jeremy Hunt – Boris Johnson’s rival in 2019 – finally came off the fence and said he would not express confidence, adding: “We don’t offer the integrity, competence and vision required.”
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross made another U-turn in his stance, returning to saying the Prime Minister should go.
And his support in Scotland faltered as former Scottish Secretary David Mundell tweeted: “After a difficult couple of years and after listening to the views of my constituents I voted tonight for a fresh start and new leadership for our country. “
MP Sir Robert Syms, 25, tweeted he would not trust the Prime Minister, while Secretary of State Penny Mordaunt – often touted as a contender for the leadership – carefully avoided saying how she would vote. Even Dehenna Davison, a key figure in the Red Wall Tory, expressed no confidence in the Prime Minister.
The carefully choreographed vote was called after the conspirators went on hiatus for the Jubilee weekend, with some post-dating their letters of no confidence to the committee’s 1922 chairman, Sir Graham Brady.
Sir Graham called Boris Johnson on Sunday afternoon, just before the Tory leader left for a long anniversary contest.
In absurd scenes, the embattled prime minister had no time to tell his aides and was forced to ponder his future in the stands for a few hours before returning to No10.
George Cracknell Wright/LNP)
At 4pm sharp today he trotted into an elegant room in Parliament’s Portcullis House to make his final pitch to MPs to support him.
But the Prime Minister boasted “I would do it again” when confronted by Partygate and left drinks at the showdown – and later left Parliament to boos from protesters without hearing the result in person.
He went on the defensive when confronted with outspoken critic Mark Harper, who questioned “why MPs should continue to defend the untenable” and demanded to know why the Prime Minister had sought to water down the ministerial code.
A source said the Prime Minister “pulled a face and looked hurt” when questioned. Asked about his participation in the lockdown leaving drinks described in Sue Gray’s scathing report, Mr Johnson told MPs: “I would do it again.”
A Tory source insisted the PM meant he would thank staff once again for their hard work – an excuse Mr Johnson used to attend lawbreakers after Sue Gray’s account.
The celebrating Prime Minister was fined for just one event – his lockdown birthday party in June 2020 – but he attended several farewell events where other attendees were fined.
Outside the meeting, a senior Conservative source brushed aside the scandal by declaring, “Is there anyone here who has never been pissed off in their life?”
The PM’s key ally added: “Is there anyone who doesn’t like a glass of wine to decompress?”
And the Prime Minister appealed to Tory MPs to keep him in power rather than indulge in “senseless fratricide”.
In a 27-minute session, he floated the vague prospect of tax cuts and suggested he would stay even if he won by a vote.
Boris Johnson needed to retain the support of 180 MPs to stay at Downing Street or he would be ousted with a full leadership contest.
He arrived smiling to vote for himself just after 7 p.m., flanked by his allies Ben Wallace, Secretary of Defense and Chief of Staff Steve Barclay.
In contrast, Theresa May – whom he brought down by quitting on her Brexit deal – came to the vote in a long evening dress.
Other MPs gasped as the ex-PM joined the queue in a navy velvet and lace dress with glitter accents and shiny silver shoes.
MPs’ phones were confiscated at the door of the wood-panelled Committee Room 10 to ensure they were not photographing ballots.
The chairman of the 1922 committee, Graham Brady, said he would run a “strict ship” in space after rules were broken last time around.
Using a one-way system, MPs queued to collect their ballots before proceeding to a screened booth at the back of the room to vote.
There was no process for what would have happened if there had been a tie. A conservative source admitted: “That would be really unfortunate. We would cross that bridge when we got there.”
There was also no specific regulation as to what to do if a recount was requested. Ballot papers may then be shredded.
1922 The chairman of the committee, Graham Brady, was to vote like other MPs.
No letters of trust came on paper, via email and WhatsApp, but he kept them on paper, somewhere like a safe.
Electronic voting was strictly forbidden, but absent MPs could use proxy voting – including an MP accused of rape.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-boris-johnson-wins-no-27162652 Boris Johnson fails to win a no-confidence vote and will remain Prime Minister