Johnson, who won a landslide election victory in 2019, has been under increasing pressure after he and staff kept alcohol fuel in their office and residence in Downing Street when the UK was shut down to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The vote was a blow to Johnson, with 41% of his MPs voting against his leadership after months of scandal and confusion that have raised questions about his power to rule Britain and tarnish his position in the public eye.
But Johnson, the master of political comeback, instead described the vote as a “decisive result” which means “as a government we can go ahead and focus on what I think really matters to people”.
“We can focus on what we are doing to help people with the cost of living, what we are doing to clear out the COVID backlog, what we are doing to make streets and communities safer by deploying more police officers. out, “said Johnson, who for weeks has been trying to divert nationalism from the partygate.
It is a change of fortune for Johnson and underscores the depth of anger against him. He was greeted with a chorus of mockery and cheers, and some muted cheers, at events to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s platinum birthday in recent days.
Several lawmakers said the vote, with 211 lawmakers voting in favor of Johnson against 148, was worse than expected for the prime minister, who once seemed indisputable after winning the majority of the Conservatives for more than three decades.
“Boris Johnson will be relieved by this vote. But he will also understand that the next priority is to restore the party’s cohesion,” former Secretary of State David Jones told Reuters. “I am sure he will meet the challenge.”
Others were less optimistic, with one Conservative MP saying in the name of anonymity: “This is clearly much worse than most people expected. But it is too early to say what will happen now.”
Roger Gale, who has long criticized Johnson, urged the prime minister to “go back to Downing Street tonight and consider very carefully where he is going from here”.
12 MONTHS CONSTRUCTION
By winning the referendum, Johnson has secured a 12-month postponement when MPs can not come up with another challenge. But his predecessor, Theresa May, scored better in a vote of confidence in 2018 and resigned six months later.
Dozens of Conservative MPs have expressed concern over the 57-year-old Johnson’s power to rule Britain, which is facing the threat of recession, rising fuel and food prices and the chaos caused by strikes in the capital, London.
But his government rallied around him, underlining what they said was the government’s success: the rapid implementation of COVID-19 vaccines and Britain’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(GRAPHIC-Johnson vs May: trusted votes compared: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/polling/myvmnwlgrpr/Pasted%20image%201654547616367.png)
A majority of Conservative MPs – at least 180 – would have had to vote against Johnson in order to be removed.
Earlier, a spokesman for the Johnson office in Downing Street said the vote would “allow the government to draw a line and move on” and that the prime minister welcomed the opportunity to present his case to lawmakers.
Johnson, the former mayor of London, came to power in Westminster as the face of the Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum and won the 2019 election with the slogan “get Brexit over”.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, Brexit’s Minister for Opportunities, told Sky News that completing Britain’s exit from the European Union would be a “significant danger” without his or her drive.
Johnson has blocked a corner with Brussels over Northern Ireland, increasing the likelihood of more barriers to British trade and intimidating leaders in Ireland, Europe and the United States over the risk of the province’s 1998 peace deal.
But there were months of stories of what happened on Downing Street, including fights and vomiting caused by alcohol, when many were barred from saying goodbye to loved ones at funerals, causing real harm.
This action led to MPs from different wings of the party announcing that they had turned against their leader. One former ally accused the prime minister of insulting both voters and the party by holding power.
“You have managed the culture of free crime at 10 Downing Street in connection with COVID,” Jesse Norman, a former junior minister, said before the vote.
John Penrose, Johnson’s anti-corruption chief, also resigned.
(Reports by Elizabeth Piper and Andrew MacAskill; Additional Reports by David Milliken, William James, Alistair Smout, Farouq Suleiman and Helena Williams; Editing by William Schomberg and Grant McCool)
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