Britain’s governing Conservatives will hold a no-confidence vote on Monday on Prime Minister Boris Johnson that could oust him as Britain’s leader.
Party official Graham Brady says he has received enough letters from lawmakers calling for a vote on Johnson’s leadership. That’s when 54 Tory MPs – 15% of the party’s group in the House of Commons – write to Brady.
“The 15% threshold has been exceeded,” Brady said. He said voting would take place in person in the House of Commons on Monday evening.
If Johnson loses the vote among 359 Conservative lawmakers, he will be replaced as Conservative leader and prime minister. If he wins, he won’t have to face another challenge for a year.
Johnson has been struggling to turn a page over months of ethical scandals, particularly over rule-breaking parties in government buildings during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Late last month, a report by an investigator known as “PartyGate” denounced the rule-breaking culture inside the prime minister’s No. 10 Downing St. office.
Civil Service investigator Sue Gray describes alcohol-fueled fundraisers organized by Downing Street staff in 2020 and 2021, when pandemic restrictions prevented UK residents from socializing or even visiting relatives who died. Gray said the “senior leadership team” should take responsibility for “failures of leadership and judgment”.
The prime minister said he was “humble” and took “full responsibility” – but insisted it was time to “move forward” and focus on Britain’s battered economy and the war in Ukraine.
But a growing number of Conservatives feel that Johnson, the charismatic leader who won them a massive parliamentary majority in 2019, now has an obligation.
If Johnson is ousted it would lead to a Conservative leadership contest, in which several key government ministers are likely to participate.
Johnson’s critic, Conservative MP Roger Gale, said: “We have some very good options for prime minister, so we are not short of options.
“I think any one of those guys can make a better prime minister than we’ve got at the moment,” he told the BBC.
Discontent appears to have grown over the parliamentary break that coincides with the celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. For many, the four-day long weekend was a chance to rest – but was no respite for Johnson, who arrived at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday for a service in honor of the Queen, cheered by some onlookers.
Johnson’s aide, Cabinet Minister Steve Barkley, said toppling the leader would now be “inevitable”.
“The problems we face are not easy to solve,” he wrote on the Conservative Home website. “Democracies around the world are currently facing similar challenges. But under the leadership of Boris Johnson, our Plan for Jobs shows how we are navigating through these global challenges.
“To disrupt that progress would now be unforgivable for the many people who voted for us in the first general election, and who want to carry out the changes our prime minister has made for their communities.”