UK’s Johnson survives no-confidence vote as Conservative leader

UK’s Johnson survives no-confidence vote as Conservative leader

LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday night survived a leadership challenge by beating back a no-confidence vote from his own Conservative Party.Johnson got the support of 211 Tory MPs, with 148 voting against him in a ballot triggered in the morning by an announcement from the 1922 Committee, as the Conservatives’ parliamentary group in the House of Commons is known.The vote on Johnson’s leadership came after letters from rebel Conservative MPs crossed the threshold of 54 – or 15 percent of the total – to reach Sir Graham Brady, the committee chair.In a pre-vote address to his MPs, Johnson said that he was “glad that this vote is finally taking place because tonight we have a chance to end the media-driven focus on the leadership of the Conservative Party.”“And if you will give me your support tonight, we have the chance to stop talking about ourselves and start talking exclusively about what we are doing for the people of this country,” he said.He dismissed recently rekindled controversies over Brexit as a “hellish groundhog day debate about the merit of belonging to the single market relitigating questions that we settled two and a half years ago.”Sizeable oppositionHowever, despite winning the vote, Johnson was dealt a major blow to his leadership, with 148 of his own MPs saying that they want a new leader for the ruling party.Theresa May, Johnson’s predecessor at No. 10 Downing Street, had to resign as the party leader and premier only six months after winning a similar confidence vote in which 133 MPs voted against her due to the parliamentary stalemate over Brexit.Conventionally, Johnson cannot be put through a new test of this kind by his party members for a year, but the rebel MPs may act against his legislative moves in the House of Commons to force him out.Labour Party leader Keir Starmer lost no time in urging Johnson to resign after the vote. Starmer said in a televised statement that “the choice in British politics is clearer tonight than ever before,” adding that the Conservative Party is now “divided,” and “out of touch.”Johnson is “utterly unfit for the great office that he holds,” Starmer added.For months Johnson has faced withering criticism over parties at No. 10 Downing Street during the Covid-19 lockdown, and the party’s poor performance in the May 5 local elections also raised eyebrows, triggering speculation that it may lose the next general election under his leadership. (Anadolu)

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