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After Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, attended celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this weekend to a chorus of “boos”, it might not come as a big surprise that he faces a no-confidence vote this evening. Backbench chief, Sir Graham Brady, has announced that the threshold had been reached, triggering a vote on the future of the Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative party, but what does this actually mean?
What is a No-Confidence Vote?
In short, it means MPs no longer have faith in their leader and believe them to be inadequate in carrying out their obligations. Under Conservative Party rules, 15 percent of Tory MPs need to have written to its executive committee citing they are no longer in support of their leader and want change.
This threshold has been reached. The letters are confidential, meaning we don’t know the exact number that have been received to date, but there must be at least 54 to trigger the vote with this government. It is thought last month’s release of the Sue Gray report, detailing the lockdown-breaking parties held in Downing Street and resulting in fixed penalty notices to Boris Johnson and his wife, Carrie, were the tipping point.
Sir Graham Brady gave a statement this morning: “The threshold of 15 percent of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative Party has been exceeded. In accordance with the rules, a ballot will be held between 1800 and 2000 today, Monday, 6 June — details to be confirmed. The votes will be counted immediately afterwards. An announcement will be made at a time to be advised. Arrangements for the announcement will be released later today.”
What Happens Next?
Johnson now needs to secure 50 percent of this evening’s vote, which is around 180 MPs, to hold his position as head of the Party. The vote takes place in person, with MPs placing their folded ballots in a box, likely to be held in the Palace of Westminster. If an MP is unable to attend in person, they can nominate a colleague to vote on their behalf.
If he succeeds, he has 12 month’s grace before another vote of no confidence would be allowed to take place. Although, this will undoubtedly have rocked the foundations of his Party. When former Prime Minister Theresa May survived a confidence vote in 2018, she resigned six months later.
If he doesn’t secure the majority, Johnson would be forced to step down and a leadership contest would ensue. He would be expected to remain as PM until a successor is picked. Tory MPs would then vote on a choice of two candidates as to who would take the position as leader of the Conservatives and become our new Prime Minister.
Which MPs have declared their support?
While the letters are confidential, there have been a number of MPs who have publicly declared their support on Twitter. Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, has tweeted that the PM has “got the big calls right”, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has posted that Johnson has displayed the “strong leadership our country needs” and Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, announced “the Prime Minister has 100% my backing.”