Boris Johnson scrambles to regain power after rebellion
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is meeting his Cabinet and trying to mend his tattered power on Tuesday after surviving a vote of no confidence that made him a severely weakened leader. .
Johnson vowed to “keep working” and focus on “what matters to the British people” – defined as the economy, health care and crime – after Conservative lawmakers Conservatives voted from 211 to 148 in favor of him as leader.
Johnson needs the backing of 180 of 359 Conservative lawmakers in Monday’s caucus to stay in power. He had more than that – but although he described the victory as “convincing”, the uprising was bigger than some of his supporters had predicted. That is also a narrower margin than Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, received in a vote of no confidence in 2018. She was forced to resign six months later.
By party rules, Johnson is now free of another year of trial. However, previous prime ministers who have faced votes of no confidence, including May and Margaret Thatcher, have been hit hard.
The uprising is a sign of deeply divided Conservatives, less than three years after Johnson led the party to its biggest election victory in decades. Most newspapers in the UK suspected that it was bad news for Johnson. The pro-Conservative Daily Telegraph said “Empty victory tore through the Tories”, while the left-wing Daily Mirror put it bluntly: “The party is over, Boris.”
The vote comes after months of moral outrage and the prime minister’s ruling centered on revelations by parties breaking the law in the prime minister’s office as Britain goes into lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
Former Conservative leader William Hague said that “while Johnson survived the night, the damage to his post as prime minister was severe” and that he should step down.
“Words spoken irrevocably, published reports cannot be erased, and votes cast show a greater degree of rejection than any Tory leader has ever endured and survived. ‘, wrote Hague in the Times of London.