LONDON – The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson on Tuesday met with his cabinet and tried to patch up his shabby power, surviving a vote of no confidence, as a result of which he became a severely weakened leader.
Johnson has vowed to “continue to work” and focus on “what matters to the British people” – defined as economics, health and crime – after Conservative lawmakers voted 211 to 148 to support him as leader.
Johnson needed the support of 180 of 359 Conservative lawmakers in Monday’s secret ballot to stay in power. He got more than that – but although he described the victory as “convincing”, the uprising was larger than some of his supporters had predicted. It was also a smaller margin than Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May, receiving a no-confidence vote in 2018. Six months later, she was forced to resign.
Under party rules, Johnson is now free from another call for a year. But previous prime ministers, faced with no-confidence votes, including Mae and Margaret Thatcher, have been hit hard.
The uprising was a sign of deep conservative divisions less than three years after Johnson led the party to its biggest election victory in decades. Most British newspapers had little doubt that this was bad news for Johnson. The Daily Telegraph, which supports the Conservatives, said: “An empty victory tears the Tories”, while the left-wing Daily Mirror directly said: “The party is over, Boris”.
The vote came after months of dissatisfaction with the Prime Minister’s ethics and views, which focused on exposing violating parties in the Prime Minister’s Office when Britain was in a blocking mode during a coronavirus pandemic.
Former Conservative leader William Hague has said that “although Johnson survived the night, the damage done to his post as prime minister is serious” and he must resign.
“Words have been said that cannot be withdrawn, reports that cannot be erased have been published, and voices that show a higher level of rejection than any Tory leader have ever endured and survived,” Hague wrote in the Times of London.
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