What happens now that Boris Johnson fails to survive a vote of confidence – the worst could be yet to come

Boris Johnson has garnered the support of enough Tory MPs to stay in Downing Street – for now.

But not even his closest allies believe he’s out of danger.

While the Tory leader has insisted he wants to continue running the country, his behavior has fueled deep anger among his own backbenchers.

From the government’s handling of Covid to Partygate and post-Brexit plans for Northern Ireland, various factions of MPs have opposed him.

That might not be enough to topple him just yet, but their nervousness is unlikely to abate anytime soon, piling up major party discipline issues for months to come.

The Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton by-elections on June 23 are the next big moment of peril.

His behavior has sparked deep anger from his own backbenchers


POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

An expected Labor defeat in Wakefield will have staunch Red Wall MPs questioning their support for the Prime Minister.

And if the Lib Dems take Tiverton by its 24,000 majority, Tory MPs across southern England will be on edge.

Meanwhile, the cost of living crisis will continue to bite.

More support from the government will come this autumn – but may not be enough to ease the pain millions of Brits are feeling.

Tory MPs are also concerned about a Commons inquiry into whether he misled MPs about Partygate and whether more stories of his lack of probity will come to light.

Ahead of last night’s vote, polls showed a majority of the public and Tory party members believed his MPs should sack him.

They have chosen not to do so – and while Mr Johnson is limping ahead to the next election, they may regret it.

Could there be a second no-confidence vote?

Once a Tory leader wins a no-confidence vote from his MPs, current rules say he cannot be challenged again for a year.

However, Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Tory backbenchers committee, confirmed today that the rules could be changed if the 1922 so wished.

Members have previously discussed shortening the grace period for another vote after six months. So it looks like Tory MPs could trigger another vote of no confidence in their leader if 15% of the group write to the leader.

If a second no-confidence vote is thrown – and Mr Johnson decides to fight it – there will be another secret vote by Tory MPs.

Again, 50% of MEPs must vote “no confidence” for the motion to pass. In this case, the Tory leader must resign and a full leadership contest ensues.

But despite winning the vote, it will be difficult for Mr Johnson to mend the breakdown in party discipline. Theresa May, who survived a no-confidence vote in 2018, resigned a year later anyway.

Theresa May, who survived a no-confidence vote in 2018, resigned anyway


Peter Macdiarmid/LNP)

Is it getting harder to get laws passed?

Tory rebels are said to be threatening to obstruct key parliamentary votes despite Mr Johnson surviving the no-confidence vote.

They were reported to have threatened that anything short of a convincing PM victory would leave them no choice but to refuse to vote on government legislation until Mr Johnson eventually agrees to quit.

But a Tory MP who voted against the Prime Minister claimed it was “total rubbish” that they were preventing legislation from passing. “Our problem is Boris Johnson, not the manifesto promises we all stood on at the last election,” they added.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith also called the plan “irresponsible” and said such a move would be “an act of war” by rebel MPs.

Senior party officials claimed that any attempt to block legislation would result in MPs losing the stick, and their constituency associations called for voting procedures to be launched.

It is not yet known whether Tory MPs will try to prevent flagship legislation from being enforced



Are we likely to see more “red meat” politics?

Pretty sure. Boris Johnson will be aware he’s not out of the woods yet, despite winning last night’s vote.

Speaking to Tory MPs ahead of the no-confidence vote yesterday, he made vague promises of tax cuts, which many Tory MPs are calling for at a time when the overall tax burden is at its highest level since the Second World War.

The Prime Minister is expected to deliver a major speech in the coming days, in which he will draw on Margaret Thatcher’s legacy and extend the right to buy to millions more.

He wants those who rent property from housing associations to be able to buy it at a discount – although critics have warned it would drastically reduce the supply of social and affordable housing.

The ministers have already announced that the first deportation flight with asylum seekers to Rwanda will depart on June 14th. It will likely face legal challenges.

Expect more on traditional Tory issues like high schools and fighting crime.

Expect more on traditional Tory issues like high schools and fighting crime


(Getty Images)

Could Boris Johnson just throw in the towel?

It’s a possibility, although considered unlikely.

Last week the Prime Minister hinted he had considered quitting because of Partygate – but decided it would be better for the country to stay in No. 10. He told Mumsnet: “I’ve been thinking a lot about all these questions, as you can imagine. and I just can’t imagine how it would actually be responsible right now, with everything that’s going on, to just abandon the project I started.”

Mr Johnson’s allies have also repeatedly argued that Britain’s leading role in helping Ukraine against Russian aggression means it would be the wrong time for him to leave.

But the reality is that he has coveted the role of prime minister all his life and is unlikely to give up his ambition once he finally achieves it.

Friends of the PM also say his wife, Carrie, enjoys her husband’s status and would encourage him to cling to power. A senior Tory rebel says: “We’ll have to rip his fingers off the gates of Downing Street if we’re ever to get rid of him.”

The Prime Minister and his wife Carrie at the Platinum Jubilee competition yesterday



Will he suffer a by-election?

The Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton twin by-elections on June 23 are widely viewed as the prime minister’s next moment of peril.

Many Westminster observers expected Tory MPs to wait until after them to trigger a vote of no confidence.

A poll by JL Partners over the weekend showed the Tories are poised for a potentially disastrous defeat in the Wakefield by-election that could leave Red Wall MPs trembling in their boots. It gave Labor a 20-point lead over the Tories in the Yorkshire constituency, taking them to 48% and the Tories to 28%, down 19 points.

The Lib Dems are catching up with the Tories in the Tiverton seat vacated by Neil Parish, who quit after seeing pornography in the House of Commons chamber.

Mr Johnson’s party won a majority of 24,000 in the classic Blue Wall constituency and their loss – so soon after the Lib Dems took Chesham & Amersham – would further damage the Prime Minister’s standing among traditional Southern Tory MPs.

What role will the Privileges Committee play?

Partygate isn’t over for the Prime Minister, although the Metropolitan Police have closed their investigation and senior officer Sue Gray has finally released her report.

Mr Johnson is still facing an inquiry from the Commons Privileges Committee into whether he lied to Parliament when he said he was unaware of Downing Street parties during lockdown.

The committee’s investigation is expected to begin as early as next week but is unlikely to be completed until the fall – which will keep the story in the headlines for months to come.

The Prime Minister has been accused of changing the ministerial code to help “save his skin” ahead of the new Partygate inquiry, which could release more photos and expose him to a public grilling by MPs.

Misleading Parliament could itself be a breach of the Ministerial Code. Opposition MPs have accused Mr Johnson of rigging the system to “get off the hook” ahead of the inquiry. In an exchange with Keir Starmer in January, the prime minister admitted that it was common for ministers to resign if they were found to have misled parliament.

What are the other danger points ahead?

There are numerous moments of danger for the Prime Minister in the coming months.

If he makes it to the summer recess, his MPs will spend weeks sounding out disgruntled local party members and voters and may return to Westminster in the autumn with hardened sentiment.

That will quickly be followed by the Tory Party Conference – which could be a pivotal moment for the Prime Minister amid Tory complaints that he has failed to chart the direction of government.

Some of the Prime Minister’s staff fear there will be more damaging stories about his lack of personal integrity. A former cabinet minister suggested to the Mirror that there is a “pipeline of f***-ups ahead of us”.

But the prime minister’s greatest moment of peril comes from the deepening cost-of-living crisis – with families already struggling and likely to be hit by even bigger bills this autumn despite additional government support.

International factors, including the Ukraine conflict, are a key driver of rising inflation – but not the only one – and desperate households are likely to point the finger at the prime minister.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/what-happens-now-boris-johnson-27162869 What happens now that Boris Johnson fails to survive a vote of confidence - the worst could be yet to come

Fry Electronics Team

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