LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a no-confidence motion Monday and secured enough support from his Conservative Party to remain in office despite a substantial rebellion that leaves him a weakened leader with a future uncertain.
Known for his ability to shrug off scandal, the charismatic leader has struggled to turn a page following revelations that he and his staff repeatedly threw booze parties that flouted the COVID-19 restrictions they imposed on others. Support among his fellow Conservative lawmakers has weakened, as some see a leader renowned for his ability to connect with voters increasingly as a liability rather than an asset in elections.
Johnson won the backing of 211 of 359 Conservative lawmakers in a secret ballot, more than the simple majority needed to stay in power, but still a significant rebellion by 148 MPs.
Johnson called it a “compelling” victory and said the party should now “come together”.
“What it means is that as a government we can move forward and focus on things that I think people really care about,” he said.
With no clear candidate to succeed him, most political observers had predicted that Johnson would beat the challenge. But the rebellion could still be a turning point for him, and it is a sign of deep Conservative divisions, less than three years after he led the party to its biggest electoral victory in decades.
Johnson’s margin of victory is smaller than that of her predecessor Theresa May in a similar vote in December 2018. She was forced to resign six months later.
Since replacing May as prime minister in 2019, Johnson has led Britain out of the European Union and through a pandemic, both of which have rocked the UK socially and economically. The vote comes as the Johnson government is under intense pressure to ease the pain of soaring energy and food bills.
But the main blow to his leadership has been the revelations that he and his staff repeatedly staged illegal parties during the lockdowns. That caused anger in the country and unease among many conservatives.
Discontent that has been building for months erupted after a 10-day parliamentary break that included a long weekend of celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. For many, the four-day vacation was a chance to relax, but there was no respite for Johnson, who was booed by some onlookers when he arrived at a service honoring the queen at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Friday.
Conservative Party official Graham Brady announced Monday that he had received letters calling for a no-confidence vote from at least 54 Conservative lawmakers, enough to trigger the measure under party rules. Hours later, party lawmakers lined up by the dozen in a parliament corridor to cast their votes in a wood-paneled room, handing over their phones as they entered to ensure secrecy.
Addressing dozens of Conservative lawmakers in a room in the House of Commons before the vote as he tried to bolster support, Johnson vowed: “I will lead you to victory again.”
Johnson’s allies had insisted he would remain in office if he won by even one vote.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said Johnson had won the vote “handsomely” and urged the party to “draw a line under this now”.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, one of the favorites to succeed Johnson if he is removed, tweeted: “I am pleased that colleagues have endorsed the PM. I support it 100%. Now is the time to get on with the job.”
But previous prime ministers who survived the no-confidence votes have come away severely weakened.
Johnson became prime minister in July 2019, capping a rollercoaster ride to the top. He held important posts, including Mayor of London and UK Foreign Secretary, but also spent periods on the fringes of politics after self-inflicted mistakes. He continued to bounce back, displaying an uncommon ability to shrug off scandal and connect with voters that, for many conservatives, overshadowed doubts about his ethics or judgment.
But concerns came to a head after a researcher’s report late last month criticized the rule-breaking culture within the prime minister’s office in a scandal known as “partygate”.
Civil Service researcher Sue Gray described booze parties held by Downing Street staff in 2020 and 2021, when pandemic restrictions prevented UK residents from socializing or even visiting dying relatives.
Gray said Johnson and top officials must take responsibility for “failures of leadership and judgment.”
Johnson was also fined 50 pounds ($63) by police for attending a party, making him the first prime minister to be sanctioned for breaking the law while in office.
The prime minister said he was “honoured” and took “full responsibility” but insisted he would not resign.
But a growing number of Conservatives feel that Johnson is now a liability that will doom them to defeat in the next election, which is due to be held in 2024.
“Today’s decision is to change or lose,” said Jeremy Hunt, who ran against Johnson for the Conservative leadership in 2019 but has largely refrained from criticizing him since. “I will vote for change.”
Lawmaker Jesse Norman, a longtime Johnson supporter, said the prime minister had “presided over a culture of casual law-breaking” and left the government “adrift and distracted.”
Despite his win, Johnson is likely to face more pressure. The war in Ukraine, a simmering post-Brexit dispute with the EU and runaway inflation weigh on the government.
Polls give the centre-left opposition Labor Party a lead nationally, and the Conservatives could lose special elections later this month for two parliamentary districts, called as incumbent Conservative lawmakers were forced to resign over sex scandals.
Johnson tried to focus on broader issues, promising colleagues he would cut taxes, a popular policy among conservatives, noting that he spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday. He has been a vocal supporter of the Ukraine cause, a stance shared by his potential successors.
Cabinet minister Steve Barclay, a Johnson ally, said toppling the leader now would be “indefensible.”
But Steve Baker, a staunch Brexiteer whose opposition to May helped Johnson seize power, said he was voting for Johnson to leave because the prime minister had broken the law.
He predicted before the vote that Johnson would probably “formally win” but said that would not settle the matter.
“What that means in the next few months, I don’t know,” Baker said.
Did Margaret Thatcher lose a vote of no confidence?
On March 28, 1979, there was a motion of no confidence against the British Labor government of James Callaghan. Opposition leader Margaret Thatcher introduced the vote and the Labor government lost it by one vote (311 votes to 310), which was announced at 10:19 p.m.
When was the last vote of no confidence in the UK? The last time a vote of no confidence was used successfully was on March 28, 1979, when the minority government of James Callaghan was defeated.
What does a vote of no confidence mean in politics?
A motion of censure (also called a vote of no confidence, motion of censure, motion of confidence, or vote of confidence) is a declaration or vote as to whether a person in a position of responsibility (government, administration, etc.) is still considered fit. to occupy that position, for example because they are…
What is the meaning of confidence vote?
Britannica Dictionary definition of VOTE OF CONFIDENCE. [count] 1. : a formal process in which people (such as members of a legislature) vote to indicate whether or not they support a leader, government, etc.
How can a Canadian prime minister be removed from office?
If the Prime Minister’s party subsequently wins a majority of seats in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister does not need to be reappointed or re-sworn into office. However, if an opposition party wins a majority of seats, the prime minister can resign or be removed by the governor-general.
How can the Prime Minister be removed from office? A Governor General can also refuse a Prime Minister’s request to dissolve Parliament and hold elections. If a Prime Minister has been defeated by a vote of no confidence, the Governor General’s refusal to dissolve Parliament would, in effect, force the Prime Minister to resign and make way for a successor.
How many terms can a Prime Minister serve in Canada?
MacDonald. It includes all prime ministers since then, up to the current prime minister, and has no term limits. Instead, they can remain in office as long as their government has the confidence of a majority in the Canadian House of Commons under the responsible government system.
What is the term limit for prime minister in Canada?
The Prime Minister serves at Her Majesty’s discretion, which means that the position does not have a fixed term, and once appointed and sworn in by the Governor General, the Prime Minister remains in office until resigned, dismissed or dies.
Can the Governor General sack the Prime Minister?
The Senate retains the power to block supply; the Governor General retains the power to dismiss ministers (including the Prime Minister). However, these powers have not been used since to force a government out of office.
What are the powers of the governor general?
Constitutional functions Preside over the Federal Executive Council. Facilitate the work of the Commonwealth Parliament and Government. Dissolution of Parliament and issuance of writs for a federal election. Commission the Prime Minister; appoint Ministers and Vice Ministers; and swearing in other statutory …
Does the Governor General of Canada have any power?
The Governor General, as the representative of the Canadian sovereign, carries out the parliamentary functions of the sovereign in his or her absence, such as convening parliament, reading the speech from the throne, and adjourning and dissolving parliament.
Has a Prime Minister ever lost their seat Canada?
Meighen became leader of the opposition. However, since he had been defeated in his own drive from Portage la Prairie, he had to be elected in a by-election before he could re-enter Parliament. This was the first time in Canada that a sitting Prime Minister lost his seat.
What is the salary of the Canadian prime minister?
4.1 (1) Notwithstanding subsection 4(1), for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2004, the Prime Minister’s annual salary is $141,200.
Has the prime minister ever lost their seat?
Balfour’s overthrow became a symbol of the Conservative Party’s crushing defeat. The result has since been hailed as one of the biggest upsets in British political history and remains the only case of a former prime minister and opposition leader losing his seat in a general election.
Who became prime minister after Margaret Thatcher?
Major became Prime Minister on November 28, 1990 when he accepted the Queen’s invitation to form a government, succeeding Margaret Thatcher. He inherited a majority government from Margaret Thatcher, who had been Prime Minister for the previous eleven years.
Who succeeded Gordon Brown as Prime Minister? After the Conservative Party formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, David Cameron succeeded Brown as Prime Minister.
Who were the prime ministers after Margaret Thatcher?
|2007 – 2010
|1997 – 2007
|1990 – 1997
|1979 – 1990
How many prime ministers has Queen Elizabeth worked with?
The Queen has had over 170 people as Prime Ministers of their realms throughout her reign, the first new appointment being Dudley Senanayake as Prime Minister of Ceylon and the most recent being Anthony Albanese as Prime Minister of Australia; some of these people have served multiple non-consecutive terms…
How did Margaret Thatcher lose power?
Margaret Thatcher’s term as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom began on May 4, 1979, when she accepted Queen Elizabeth II’s invitation to form a new administration, and ended on November 28, 1990.
What happened to Margaret Thatcher?
On April 8, 2013, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, died of a stroke at the Ritz Hotel in London, at the age of 87. On April 17, she was honored with a ceremonial funeral.
Why did Labour lose the 1987 election?
In many areas of the South, the Labor vote fell and the party lost seats in London. However, it represented a decisive victory against the SDP-Liberal Alliance and marked Labor as the Conservative Party’s main contender.
Who is the longest serving British prime minister?
The longest single-serving Prime Minister was Sir Robert Walpole, who lasted 20 years and 315 days from April 3, 1721 to February 11, 1742. This is also longer than the cumulative terms of any other Prime Minister . The shorter term in office is more confusing, depending on the criteria.
Who is the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century?
Walpole is also the longest-serving British Prime Minister by this definition. However, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was the first and Margaret Thatcher the longest-serving prime minister to be officially referred to as such in the order of precedence.