Tories look to challenge Boris Johnson’s leadership as soon as next week in a confidence vote
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson could soon face a leadership challenge as conservative MPs want to hold a fresh confidence vote, according to Bloomberg, citing a source close to the matter.
Members of the so-called 1922 Committee are reportedly set to meet on Wednesday to discuss the prime minister. If the majority is in favor, then another confidence ballot could be presented as early as next week, the unnamed source told Bloomberg.
The move comes as Johnson has been urged to step down after dozens of his ministers and other cabinet members resigned in the past couple of days. At least 15 MPs have already abandoned the PM, including Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
In his resignation letter, Sunak wrote that “the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously,” and that he believed these standards were “worth fighting for,” noting it as the reason he decided to resign.
Junior Education Minister Will Quince also stated on Wednesday that he had no choice but to resign after receiving “inaccurate” briefings from Johnson’s government before being asked to publicly defend the prime minister’s decision to promote an MP accused of sexual assault.
Citing a senior government official, Bloomberg writes that Johnson is currently on “red alert for signs of a coordinated plot from his ministers to bring him down,” as frustration over his leadership grows. Tory MPs are reportedly angry with the way the prime minister has conducted himself, including him becoming the first sitting PM to have been found breaking the law, when he was fined over illegal parties in Downing Street during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last month, Johnson managed to survive a confidence vote, even though some 40% of his own MPs voted against him, Bloomberg pointed out.
Under current party rules, the prime minister should be immune from another leadership challenge for a year. However, if Tory rebels can demonstrate that they could defeat him, they may be able to trigger another ballot, which could see Johnson ejected from office.
In response to the alleged plot, Johnson has reportedly stated that he will “keep going” in the face of calls for him to quit, Bloomberg reports.
“The job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances when he’s been handed a colossal mandate is to keep going and that’s what I’ll do,” Johnson told MPs on Wednesday after they demanded he “take responsibility and resign.”