Boris Johnson fights for his political life – it can happen now – Dagsavisen

Article updated on Thursday January 20 at 10.00

The British press in recent days has been flooded with speculation: Will there be a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson among conservative politicians in a very short time? Report it more conservative Representatives in the House of Commons now back it, speculation increased on Wednesday.

That same day, it attracted a lot of attention when Conservative politician and former Brexit minister David Davis spoke live in the House of Commons. that Boris Johnson must go. In addition, Conservative representative Christian Wakeford announced the transition from Conservatives to Labor in protest. It was a blow to the party, but at the same time could paradoxically help Johnson in the game that is now underway.

It was the so-called “street party” that made Boris Johnson now fight for his political life. If at least 54 conservative representatives support it, there may be a vote of no confidence.


Here’s the backdrop: Several key Conservative politicians believe Boris Johnson should step down after it was revealed that a garden party was being held at the Prime Minister’s residence during the shutdown on May 20, 2020 – one of several social gatherings that have been held in teams around the Prime Minister while the country was on lockdown. , and which is currently being investigated.

Boris Johnson admitted in parliament on Wednesday last week that he had been present briefly, but considered it a “work event”. He apologized to the British people, but many were not happy.

This week, allegations came from Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings. He wrote in blog that the Prime Minister had foreknowledge of plans for a much-discussed garden party on Downing Street on May 20, 2020, and claimed that he warned Johnson against agreeing to such a party. However, Cummings has a grudge against the prime minister after he stepped down, and has repeatedly criticized the way the government was run.

Johnson denies that he knew the rules were being broken, but if it turns out he knew in advance that a party was being planned, it would make matters worse for him, as he said in parliament last week that he thought it was a “job arrangement”.

There will be a report from bureaucrat Sue Gray, who is investigating the incident. Many conservative politicians will be waiting for this, but not all: Some believe that Johnson should leave.


So what are the opportunities around Boris Johnson now?

There are two ways a conservative prime minister can resign: the prime minister can choose to resign as prime minister and party leader, or a vote of no confidence can be held.

If Johnson resigns, a leadership battle will be held.

A vote of no confidence could also be taken against Johnson in the Conservative House of Representatives. For that to happen, at least 15 percent of the party group, now numbering at least 54 representatives, would have to send a letter of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady, leader of the party’s so-called 1922 committee, which represents “backbenchers”. at the party.

How many have sent such letters is a secret, and it is estimated how large this number is now. If the number exceeds 54, there will be a secret ballot. It can happen quickly after. It hasn’t been long since the last no-confidence vote against a conservative prime minister: One was held against Theresa May on December 12, 2018. It was already a day after she was told that the 15 percent threshold had been reached, wrote Government Institute in the process guide.

If the prime minister gets at least half the support, which would be at least 181 of the 360 ​​conservative representatives now there, Johnson will sit down. When there was a vote in May, he survived the vote. If the Prime Minister survives the vote, no new vote can take place in the next 12 months.

If Johnson, on the other hand, lost, it would trigger a leadership battle in which he could not stand.

Many currents

The struggle for leadership within the party took place in two phases. Conservative representatives who wish to stand, register, and then party representatives vote in the House of Commons in various rounds in which names are omitted. In the first two rounds, those who do not reach a certain threshold with the number of votes will be out. Later, a new round will be held, where the candidate who arrived last in each round is eliminated, until there are two candidates left.

In the second stage, party members choose which of the two candidates will be the leader.

Possible current candidates named in the British press include Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, Foreign Minister Liz Truss, Health Minister Sajid Javid, Home Affairs Minister Priti Patel, former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng and Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi.

How fast?

The question now is not just whether the number of letters exceeds 54, but when that can happen. Maybe that’s after Gray’s report came out – time for publication isn’t clear, but it might come within the next week. On Wednesday, there were more and more reports that the number 54 could be reached soon, partly because a group of people’s representatives who had just been elected after the 2019 general election were ready to send letters. Others say they are not so sure, and that the threshold will not be reached until after Gray’s report. Some say that about 30 letters have now been delivered, according to Security Thursday.

And paradoxically, the transition to Labor for Conservative representative Christian Wakeford may somewhat dampen the rebellion against Johnson until further notice. The fact that a party member went to a rival could cause others to join the ranks to gather the party, is the reason behind this analysis.

– I don’t think anything can bring us together more than seeing someone walk across the floor like that, tory politician Joy Morrissey told BBC.

What comes into play?

While many party members have never been so frustrated with Johnson’s leadership, they must consider whether they think someone else is a better fit than Johnson, and whether the party will gain or lose from Johnson’s loss. Johnson won spectacularly in the 2019 election with the “get Brexit done” mantra. He ensured that Labor was swept away within the so-called Red Wall – constituents in central and northern England that Labor had gripped firmly on to for decades after decades. Will the new leader be able to maintain that?

At the same time, polls are no longer so good for the Conservatives. The Tories continued to lead in opinion polls after the election in 2019, but in December 2021 it reversed, and the Labor Party is now over, according to the historical summary at political. In December the party scandal began to roll.

Exactly what is moving at the grassroots among voters now can be very important. At the time of the Downing Street garden party, there were people who had to die without their loved ones around them because of the restrictions.

Many politicians are now reporting angry voters at the grassroots. If grassroots conservative voters react strongly, and no action is taken against Johnson, it is conceivable that these voters will not vote for the Conservative party next time. In the United Kingdom, one-man constituencies operate, meaning that each constituency has only one representative – from the party being the largest in the constituency. If voters don’t forgive, it will go beyond the representatives themselves, who may lose their seats.

This is especially true in many of the constituencies the Conservatives won in previous elections, but which have traditionally been Labor Party constituencies. They are located in central and northern England as part of the so-called “red wall”, an area that until 2019 was always Labor red. Boris Johnson in particular has received most of the credit for victories in this area, but many representatives of this circle are insecure.

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Shaun Dennis

"Certified introvert. Devoted internet fanatic. Subtly charming troublemaker. Thinker."

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