Boris Johnson to face vote of no confidence

At least 50% of Tory Members of Parliament must vote “no confidence” for the prime minister to lose

Boris Johnson will face a vote of no confidence today after at least 54 Conservative MPs called on him to resign.

The threshold of 15% of Tory MPs have now written to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, saying they no longer have confidence in their leader.

The vote will take place in the House of Commons between 6pm and 8pm later on Monday.

At least 180 Tory MPs will need to turn on their leader for him to be removed – although simply passing the vote will not be indicative of Johnson’s safety as PM.

Brady said the prime minister was informed on Sunday night after some MPs post-dated their letters until after the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations were over.

He said Johnson had agreed that the vote should take place as soon as possible, but refused to confirm how many letters had been received.

The prime minister has been teetering on the edge of a vote for some weeks, sparked in main by the Partygate scandal that saw the PM fined for attending a party in Downing Street, while the UK was subject to stringent lockdown rules.

Despite issuing a grovelling apology following the publication of the damning Sue Gray report, Johnson has not managed to secure the support of enough of his own party to stave off a vote.

Polling in recent weeks has also made desperate reading in terms of Johnson’s personal popularity.

This was most publicly demonstrated on Friday when he was booed by a significant section of the crowd during his arrival at a thanksgiving service for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Downing Street said Johnson “welcomes the opportunity to make his case to MPs”, with a No 10 spokeswoman adding that Monday night’s secret ballot was “a chance to end months of speculation and allow the Government to draw a line and move on”.

A number of MPs have already expressed public support for Johnson including multiple ministers such as Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab, Michael Gove and Nadine Dorries.

However, the criticism from the many backbenchers who have criticised his leadership skills and policy priorities has been stark.

On Monday, shortly before the no-confidence vote was confirmed, a long-standing ally of 15 years issued a devastating letter of criticism, which serves to highlight the anger felt by many MPs.

Former Treasury minister Jesse Norman described some of Johnson’s high-profile policies as “deeply questionable” and said there were no circumstances in which he could serve in a government led by him.

In his letter to the PM, Norman warned that any breach of the Northern Irish protocol would be “economically very damaging, politically foolhardy and almost certainly illegal”.

“You are the leader of the Conservative and Unionist party, yet you are putting the Union itself gravely at risk,” he said.

He said the government’s Rwanda policy was “ugly, likely to be counterproductive and of doubtful legality” and that plans to privatise Channel 4 were “unnecessary and provocative”.

In an effort to rally support for the PM, Tory MPs were sent a 12 point pamphlet trying to get MPs on side.

In italics was written: “By backing Boris Johnson today, we can move on from distractions and get on with the job”, and “A leadership contest would be extremely harmful to the country and the Conservative Party.”

What happens next?

At least 50% of Tory MPs must vote “no confidence” for the prime minister to lose.

But even if Johnson survives the vote on Monday evening, his leadership could be fatally undermined if a significant number of MPs vote against him.

If Johnson is voted out or forced to resign, a leadership contest to replace him as the head of the Tory Party would take place – although he is likely to remain in post as PM until a successor is in place.

The contest takes place in two stages.

In the first stage, Conservative MPs put themselves forward as candidates.

All Tory MPs then vote in a series of rounds to reduce the number of candidates until only two remain.

The second stage of the contest sees the two remaining candidates put to a vote of Conservative Party members.

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