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Opinion: Will a vote of no confidence lead to the downfall of the Conservative Party?

boris johnson

Boris Johnson’s arrival at the Queen’s Jubilee service has spiked a negative response from the public, with videos of him being booed at escalating on the internet. Following Sue Gray’s “partygate” report, ever increasing numbers of Conservative MPs have begun to express their concerns about the leadership of the Prime Minister calling for his resignation.

Today, the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady confirmed that the number of letters calling for a Vote of Confidence in Boris Johnson’s leadership has reached the important 54 threshold (15% of MPs).

A vote is to be held at 6pm this evening, with results by about 9pm.

I’m sorry?

Apologising for his actions, the PM claimed that he was unaware that he was breaching any rules and had no intention of doing so. He believed the gathering in Cabinet to be a work event and was “very, very surprised” to receive a fine. He brushed off calls for his resignation and said “I believe it’s my job to get on and deliver for the people of this country. That’s what I’m going to do.” He has further rejected calls for him to quit saying that it would not be “responsible right now given everything that is going on”.

Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer said that the reaction from the public was not a surprise and believes that the public are ‘fed up’ with the Conservative Government’s handling of the cost-of-living crisis more so than the “partygate” scandal.

Confidence vote Boris Johnson
Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady announced the Vote of Confidence in the Prime Minister this morning

Is the next General Election lost for the Conservatives?

However, a senior government source has challenged the rebel MPs idea of a brighter future for the conservative party without Boris, calling him an ‘election-winning machine’. It claims that if the PM loses the vote, the Conservative party are at much more risk of losing seats.

The source says that in 2019, Boris Johnson gained a compelling victory in which he was able to reach “parts of the country that no conservative leader has in a generation”. The source goes on to say that Boris Johnson is the only person who can keep the ‘Red Wall’ constituencies together and that no other MP can do so.

The ‘Red wall’ constituencies refer to the long-standing Labour constituencies in the Midlands and North which Boris was able to win. The source further goes on to claim that Boris is better placed to defend the traditional conservative ‘Blue Wall’ which are currently under pressure from the Liberal Democrats in the south and rural areas.

The Number 10 source stands by the idea that Boris Johnson is the most effective leader for the Conservative party and despite the public’s current attitude, the bigger picture still shows that the Conservative Party will be better off with Boris as their leader.

Cats in the sack

Priti Patel continues to show her support for the Prime Minister and tells MPs who are calling for his resignation to “forget it”. She states that the overwhelming majority still backs him and accuses MPs who have expressed their concerns as “doing the opposition’s work”. Patel stands firm that the party should continue to “deliver on the people’s priorities”.

However,  Conservative MPs continue to voice their anger over the Prime Minister’s behaviour. Jeremy Hunt has become the most senior MP to signal that he will vote against the Prime Minister tonight. He warned colleagues on social media “we are set to lose the next general election.”

In addition, the Prime Minister’s now former Anti-Corruption Tsar, John Penrose, resigned from his Government position and called on the Prime Minister to resign also. Former Treasury Minister, Jesse Norman also publicly called on the Prime Minister to resign, releasing a two-page attack on the Prime Minister. In the letter, he wrote that it is clear that MPs are not just angry about “partygate” and the response to Sue Gray’s report, but also the overall policy direction of the Government.

He told Radio 4 there is a “clearer picture of wider concerns, not just about “partygate” but core policy issues”. He cites Rwanda and potential breaches to Article 16 of the NI Protocol as two main areas of concern with policy.

Is Boris Johnson’s career over?

Boris Johnson’s future has never looked more uncertain. He has faced periods in the wilderness before – sacked by Michael Howard over his love life. His exit from the leadership contest where Theresa May became the Prime Minister after Michael Gove destroyed his chances.


However, tonight’s vote is going to be difficult. He is someone that loves to be popular – he has self-defined as a “vote winning machine”, however the boos faced over the weekend by normally loyal monarchist supporting voters clearly tipped many MPs over the edge this weekend.

The Wakefield by-election polling shows the Conservatives running 20 points behind in a seat in the heart of the Red/Blue Wall. MPs are now putting self-preservation ahead of party loyalty.


But is it enough to remove Boris form office?

For now, the numbers do not look enough. However, we remember the surprise of Mrs Thatcher’s first round leadership election. If the numbers are tight – expect a cabinet minister or two to drive in the knife over the coming days.

Boris may win tonight, but still faces a potential loss of support at Cabinet – even if he survives that, he has an uphill struggle in terms of winning the next General Election.

Johnson’s Teflon has finally rubbed off. MPs will have to decide whether they throw out the pan tonight.

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