Conservative lawmakers dealt a potentially deadly blow to his leadership on Prime Minister Boris Johnson when they triggered a no-confidence vote on Monday that could force him from power just over two years after his landslide election victory.
The move followed several months of crisis and comes amid allegations that Mr Johnson misled parliament over breaking parties held in Downing Street at the height of a coronavirus pandemic.
The vote for the no-confidence vote has ended and party officials are expected to announce at 9 p.m. (4 p.m. Eastern) whether Mr Johnson has retained the party’s leadership, and thus his job as Britain’s prime minister.
Johnson this year became the first serving prime minister to be fined by police for breaking the law by attending a rally to celebrate his birthday. Last month, a report by a senior official, Sue Gray, painted a chilling picture of lawbreakers in Downing Street where employees drank heavily, damaged property and once fought each other.
Faced with severe economic headwinds, including rising inflation, Mr. Johnson plummeted and there was some cheering as he arrived at a Thanksgiving service for Queen Elizabeth’s platinum jubilee last Friday.
Graham Brady, who heads a committee of Conservative lawmakers, said in a statement that more than 15 percent of Conservative MPs had requested a confidence vote, crossing the threshold needed to pass a vote. to force.
Mr Johnson must achieve a simple majority in the vote of conservative lawmakers to remain their leader. That still means he has a good chance of survival, as his opponents need to amass about 180 votes to topple him, and there’s no consensus on who would replace him.
The vote was secret, allowing even those who publicly profess loyalty to quietly withdraw their support if they wished. If he fails, there will be a competition to replace him as party leader and prime minister.
Despite calls for his resignation and a collapse in his opinion polls, Mr Johnson had fought hard to stem internal criticism of his conduct and prevent the confidence vote from taking place. For several weeks, his crackdown on Russia before the invasion of Ukraine seemed to have earned him a postponement of payment.
Speaking to his fellow Conservative lawmakers, Mr Johnson argued that the best was yet to come if they continued to support him. “I will lead you to victory again and the winners will be the people of this country,” Mr Johnson said, according to excerpts from the text released by a party official.
The last time a similar vote of no confidence took place was in 2018. Theresa May, then the prime minister, survived the contest but was still forced to resign several months later.
On Twitter, Secretary of State Liz Truss – who is seen as a potential successor to Mr Johnson – writes expressed her support for him†
A former minister, Jesse Norman, filed a case against Mr Johnson in a letter published Monday, saying, among other things, that the prime minister “presided over a culture of informal breaches of law at 10 Downing Street related to Covid.”