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Boris Johnson stays. British prime minister wins motion of censure

Shaken by the scandals of the “Partygate” – the parties on Downing Street during the confines of the pandemic – Boris Johnson was subject to a motion of censure by his own party. But he won.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson today resisted an internal vote of no confidence in the Conservative Party by winning 211 votes of support. 148 votes against were recorded.

All in all, according to the BBC, Boris Johnson received support from 58.8% of the Conservative Party, with 41.2% of Conservatives voting against his leadership. All Conservative MPs voted.

This result is lower than the 63% received by Theresa May during her leadership challenge in 2018. Therefore, the result obtained is not being seen as positive – remember that the former prime minister ended up leaving office at when the end of 6 months.

Having survived today’s vote, Boris Johnson can now continue as leader of the Conservative Party and therefore prime minister.

Under current rules, Conservative lawmakers will not be able to hold another vote of confidence within a year.

However, there was speculation that some might try to change the rules in order to hold another vote sooner. When asked about this issue, Graham Brady — who oversees the process — said that “technically it’s possible.”

Despite winning this vote, Johnson still faces challenges. On June 23, partial elections will be held to choose new MPs in Wakefield and Tiverton, and Honiton. Both seats are held by the Conservatives, and if they are lost to opposition parties, Johnson could find himself under renewed pressure.

How did the voting go?

  • While voting in the House of Commons was being held, people abroad held up posters against Boris Johnson. There were several protesters near the Parliament;
  • Theresa May, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, refused to reveal the vote. It is recalled that May survived, in 2018, the censure motion that could remove her from the leadership of the Conservative Party;
  • Caso Boris Johnson fosse afastado do cargo, eram vários os nomes indicados para a liderança dos conservadores: Elizabeth Truss, Rishi Sunak, Jeremy Hunt, Nadhim Zahawi, Penny Mordaunt, entre outros;
  • 300 votes were registered until 19:00;
  • Voting ended at 20:00.

How did this vote come about?

To take this vote to the House of Commons, requests by letter were required from at least 15% of the 359 deputies of the Conservative majority, or 54, which was reached this Sunday. The announcement of this crossing threshold was made today by Graham Brady, chairman of the committee that manages the Conservative parliamentary bench.

Some lawmakers, Brady explained, have decided to delay submitting their requests until the conclusion of the “Platinum Jubilee,” Britain’s four-day celebrations to mark Elizabeth II’s 70th-year reign.

Johnson was briefed on Sunday night, with the British Prime Minister and Graham agreeing that “following the established rules, the vote must take place as soon as possible.

To win the vote of no confidence, an absolute majority – 180 or more – is needed and Johnson, who believes in his famous talent for political escapism, will start addressing Conservative MPs in the afternoon.

Today, former Secretary of State for Finance Jesse Norman joined the group of critics, enumerating in a letter a number of reasons, including the ‘Partygate’ scandal and the intention to legislate to suspend parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol to the Brexit “Prolonging this charade of staying in office not only insults the electorate … but makes a change of government in the next one more likely,” said Jesse Norman.

A spokesperson for the prime minister said that the vote would be an opportunity to “put an end to it and move forward”, and Johnson “appreciates the opportunity to present his case to parliamentarians and will remind them that when we are united and focused on causes that matter to our constituents, there is no more formidable political force” than the Conservative Party.

And as an example of the prime minister’s relevant work, his press office released a lengthy statement about a telephone conversation this Monday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about the war with Russia.

Conservatives are usually unforgiving

The Conservative Party has a ruthless record with its leaders who have lost electoral appeal — including Margaret Thatcher — and Johnson, who came to power triumphantly when the weakened Theresa May was forced to resign despite overcoming a vote of censure. , is well aware of this.

“We are not offering the integrity, competence, and vision necessary to the British and because we no longer have the trust of the electorate (…) we will lose the next general election”, scheduled for 2024, said former minister Jeremy Hunt, who lost to Johnson the election for the Conservative leadership and, since then, he waits for this moment to run again.

Published on May 25, the internal report of “Partygate”, a scandal of parties organized during the confinements enacted in the pandemic, detailed the scale of violations of anti-covid rules in Downing Street, which prompted new requests for the Prime Minister to resign.

Johnson, who only received a fine for having attended a party on his 56th birthday on June 19, 2020, in the council of ministers’ room, apologized and said he “did not realize” that the brief meeting “could constitute a breach of the rules”.

The ruler assumed “full responsibilities”, but defended his actions and refused to resign, claiming that he had the responsibility to move forward with “priorities” such as the war in Ukraine and the crisis due to the rise in living costs, which imposes sacrifices. to many Britons and affects the government’s popularity.

The speech, however, did not convince many people even within his party, such as John Penrose, his “anti-corruption czar”, who resigned from his post on Monday because he considered “quite clear that (Johnson) has violated” the code of conduct. official and should also resign.

“History tells us this is the beginning of the end,” opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer told LBC radio. “If you look at previous examples of censure motions, even when Conservative prime ministers survived … the damage was already done and they usually went down fairly quickly,” he said, recalling the Thatcher and May cases.

A poll published on Sunday in the Sunday Times newspaper gave the opposition Labor Party a 20 percentage point lead in voting intentions in the Wakefield constituency, which goes to vote on June 23 following the resignation of Conservative MP Imran Khan.

The jeers directed at Boris Johnson on Friday, at the entrance of St Paul’s Cathedral, in London for a ceremony celebrating the 70th anniversary of Elizabeth II’s reign, accentuated the turnaround in public opinion.

In an internal poll, the ConservativeHome website pointed out that the majority of the military (57%) is still against dismissal, but that the number of those who want a new leadership has increased to 40%.

Former Brexit minister and current Boris Johnson chief of staff Steve Barclay wrote on the website today that the party is “wasting time now with constant internal division” and risks wasting the boon of an absolute majority.

The Conservative parliamentary group, he stressed, has to choose between “focusing on carrying out the necessary policies to face the challenges faced” by the country or “wasting time and energy looking back and inward, talking about ourselves”.

*with agencies

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