Boris Johnson used a cabinet meeting on Tuesday to urge ministers to move beyond a highly damaging no-confidence vote, in which 41 percent of Tory lawmakers voted to oust him and focus on practical issues.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid addressed the cabinet on tackling the NHS backlog and improving health services. Meanwhile, the prime minister asked cabinet ministers to find more departmental savings to shift spending to households.
Johnson’s aides believe he is also planning a ministerial reshuffle to reward those who have remained loyal to him, while punishing those who have not. But Downing Street said on Tuesday there were no plans for a reshuffle.
Johnson won a no-confidence vote of Tory lawmakers 211 to 148 on Monday and told cabinet the result was “conclusive and conclusive”.
But he faced serious newspaper headlines. The Daily Telegraph, Johnson’s former employer, led its front page with the headline: “Hollow victory rips Tories apart” while Lord William Hague, one of his predecessors as party leader, wrote a report in the Times. The column was used to ask the Prime Minister to step down. ,
Johnson received a boost on Tuesday morning when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said financial Times At the Global Boardroom Conference that his survival was “good news”, he said: “I am glad we have not lost a very important ally.”
The prime minister and his allies attempted to portray the result as a moment when the party could bury its differences. But the vote exposed rancor and breakdown in Tory discipline.
Johnson’s victory was by a smaller margin than his predecessor Theresa May’s victory in a no-confidence vote in 2018; Six months later he was forced to resign as prime minister.
The biggest threat to Johnson now will be a series of resignations by ministers who are no longer willing to serve in his government, although there has so far been no sign of that happening.
Tobias Ellwood, Tobias chairman of the House of Commons defense select committee and Johnson critic, said on Monday: “The days of the honorable resignation are no more.”
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told the BBC he had no intention of stepping down. “I will always put the nation’s well-being first and foremost,” he said, adding that it was best for Johnson to remain in office.
He said he was confident the Conservatives could surpass the 80-seat majority achieved by Johnson in the 2019 general election if the party stands united.
But some Tory lawmakers believe Monday’s vote begins the beginning of a long slide out of office for Johnson, who faces a number of challenges – including an autumn of high inflation and a potential recession.
Former Foreign Secretary Hague wrote many times That votes cast against Johnson’s leadership “show a level of disapproval greater than any Tory leader and have survived”. He asked the Prime Minister to “put out his mind in such a way as to save the party and the country from such suffering and uncertainties”.
Johnson also faces a parliamentary inquiry into whether he lied to the Commons about the Partygate scandal – gatherings in Downing Street during Covid restrictions while social gatherings were banned – as well as two Treacherous by-elections too. The Tories are defending seats in Wakefield, and Tiverton and Honiton on 23 June, and opinion polls have shown them to lag behind the opposition in both.
“The scale of the vote against the prime minister this evening is clear evidence that he no longer enjoys the full confidence of the parliamentary party and must consider his position,” said Julian Sturdy, a Tory backbencher.
Johnson cannot face another no-confidence motion for 12 months under the party’s current rules, but senior Tories have said the rules could be changed with immediate effect.
Some Conservative lawmakers believe Johnson will never resign, no matter the electoral losses he has caused. “He is an existential threat to the Conservative Party,” said one Tory backbencher.
Johnson’s authority could be tested soon, with publication expected in the coming days of draft legislation to rattle off parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, part of the UK’s 2020 Brexit agreement with the EU.
Some conservatives have already warned Johnson not to break an international treaty. If it goes ahead with the legislation, the EU has said it will retaliate by excluding British scientists from the €95bn Horizon research project.