British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was heavily criticized in the “Partygate” affair, has to face a vote of no confidence from his Conservative Party on Monday evening. The head of the responsible party committee, Graham Brady, announced on Monday in London that the necessary number of applications – at least 54 – had been received from Tory MPs.
The necessary threshold of 15 percent of the 359 conservative parliamentarians was thus reached. Johnson can win the vote, which should take place between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (local time) on Monday evening, and retain his office. However, the vote alone is considered another heavy blow for the prime minister. If a majority votes against him, he will lose his position as prime minister for the time being.
Criticism of Johnson continues to ignite, particularly over Johnson’s handling of the “Partygate” scandal surrounding lockdown celebrations at government headquarters Downing Street. Many rebels referred to senior official Sue Gray’s damning investigative report in their motion. She had accused the prime minister of serious leadership failure – but the 57-year-old carries on as if nothing had happened, also ignoring the fact that he has become the first sitting prime minister to break the law after being fined for attending a party.
Still, it is by no means certain that Johnson will lose office. Because in a vote, 180 Tory MPs – at least half of the current 359 parliamentary group members – would have to speak out against the prime minister. But about 150 of them have unpaid or paid government jobs, such as secretaries of state, faction whips, or trade envoys. If they vote against Johnson in the secret ballot, they could lose their positions themselves.
There is currently no serious successor in sight. Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak, previously the most promising candidate, has lost support, and the much-loved Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace appears to have no ambitions.
Remain Secretary of State Liz Truss. The 46-year-old, who presents herself as a modern version of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, stands for conservative virtues such as tax cuts and appears more determined than all other candidates, commented former Tory MP David Gauke in the New Statesman magazine.