The Labour party will today push for a no confidence vote to remove Boris Johnson from Number 10 Downing Street. Following Boris Johnson downfall, ousting the ‘care taker’ Prime Minister could potentially trigger an election.
Following Sir Keir Starmer’s announcement last week that he planned to seek a vote of no confidence, the Labour party will today push for the vote to go through. The news comes following Boris Johnson’s resignation speech in which he outlined that he would stay at Number 10 until the Conservative party had elected a new leader. Given this process could take until autumn this year, the benches opposite have looked to oust the Prime Minister rather than allowing the Prime Minister to stay in his ‘care taker’ role.
Mr. Johnson’s downfall as leader came last week after the Chris Pincher scandal triggered wounding resignations from his Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid. A flood of resignations followed of over 50 Conservative MPs including Bim Afolami, Jo Churchill and other ministers.
Despite the Prime Minister’s efforts to “smash on”, wave after wave of resignations left him unable to practically hold a cabinet together and the party had spoken on his future as leader. A splatter of loyalists applauded his arrival to the podium outside of Number 10, but the overall majority within the party had publicly turned their backs on his fitness to lead the party and the country.
Stirs from the opposition
However, Mr. Johnson’s announcement to stay on in the interim left benches opposite outraged he was able to continue for the meantime. Opposition parties, including the SNP and Liberal Democrats, revealed they would back the vote, and if passed, could see the PM removed from office and a general election potentially triggered.
Nevertheless, the opposition would need the support of Conservative MPs to remove him from office. Given 41 percent of Tory MPs voted against the Prime Minister in the last vote, it would be a tall ask to achieve a successful vote in removing him.
Following Mr. Johnson’s resignation speech last week, Keir Starmer released a statement on the events:
“His own party have finally concluded that he’s unfit to be prime minister,” he said. “If they don’t get rid of him, then Labour will step up in the national interest and bring a vote of no confidence because we can’t go on with this prime minister clinging on for months and months to come.”
Further Labour party MPs have followed, including the shadow financial secretary to the Treasure, James Murray. On the vote he said it was “the last opportunity to get Boris Johnson out of Downing Street before the end of parliament next week”
“Boris Johnson should go now. And we hope that the Conservative MPs agree with us on that […] I think the whole country realises Boris Johnson just has no integrity and honesty. I think it’s time for him to go.”
Indeed the Leader of the Opposition looks to stick to his word following the announcement today from his party.
The outrage from Labour, the SNP and others is shared with some Conservative MPs.
Former minister George Freeman said he should “hand in the seals of office, apologise to Her Majesty, allow her to appoint a caretaker under whom ministers can serve, so the Conservative Party can choose a new leader properly”.
West Dorset MP Chris Loder said: “I’m afraid, that Boris Johnson cannot stay on until the autumn.
“Government cannot function without ministers in place and I expect the Deputy Prime Minister to take over imminently whilst a leadership election takes place.”
Meanwhile, Aaron Bell said it would “not be tenable” for the PM to continue as a caretaker, with ex-vice chairman of the Conservative party, Bim Afolami, in agreement.
However, the hopes of opposition parties to instantly oust Mr. Johnson and attain the general election they crave looks to be stunned by the hasty manner of the Conservative leadership race. Following last week’s resignation, 11 Tory MPs are in the race to become the next leader including former Chancellor and right hand man, Rishi Sunak.
Announcing his leadership bid, Mr. Sunak said: “I have never hidden away from those, and I certainly won’t pretend now that the choices I made, and the things I voted for, were somehow not necessary. Whilst this may be politically inconvenient, it is the truth,”
“My message to the party and the country is simple: I have a plan to steer our country through these headwinds. Once we have gripped inflation, I will get the tax burden down. It is a question of when, not if.”
Most predictions follow the Prime Minister could step down completely in a few weeks, not months. To the disappointment of Labour, the 1922 Committee, which presides over the leadership election, looks to speed up the election process and remove any chance of a snap election.
Despite the Labour party’s announcement today, their efforts to attain a quick removal of the Prime Minister seem adopted from his own party. Capitalising on Conservative dismay towards Mr. Johnson would only be feasible if the ‘men in grey suits’ were acting laissez faire on establishing a new leader – which is clearly not the case. Key Conservative players, including Boris Johnson’s former allies are stepping up to take the helm as quickly as possible. Under such circumstances, the outrage of Conservative MPs is likely to be quelled in the promise of new leader in the coming weeks.