Johnson won the vote on Monday by a much smaller margin than he and his allies had hoped, implying that his party’s — and, by extension, the country’s — leadership has been rattled.
Here’s what that implies and what he’ll be doing next:
Why is he under so much stress and criticism?
The so-called “Partygate“ Scandal has shattered Johnson’s premiership, with months of reports of alcohol-fueled parties and gatherings at the heart of his government during pandemic lockdown restrictions eroding support for him.
However, the controversy is only one motivation for the uprising.
Johnson has also been chastised for his response to a cost-of-living problem, his failure to follow through on promises to improve the economy in northern England by building new transportation links, and his stance on the Northern Ireland agreement and the ongoing repercussions of Brexit.
Was the outcome unexpected?
Both yes and no. Johnson was predicted to win the election, especially because about 180 MPs are believed to be on the government payroll and so closely related to the Prime Minister, including ministries, parliamentary private secretaries, and party vice-chairs.
While Johnson and his supporters attempted to portray the vote’s outcome as “convincing” and “decisive,” the ultimate number of MPs who voted against him was significantly more than his supporters had anticipated.
Some pundits predicted that if the number of MPs voting against him surpassed 100, he would be in serious trouble.
Is that to say Boris Johnson Survived?
Yes, technically and for the time being.
A leader who survives a vote of confidence is protected for 12 months under current Conservative Party regulations. However, as several people pointed out on Monday and Tuesday, these restrictions might alter at any time.
What are the significant upcoming challenges for the British PM?
Johnson’s credibility will be tarnished as a result of his MPs’ massive revolt. It may potentially jeopardize his capacity to pass legislation.
“The number of rebels who voted to remove Johnson greatly outnumbers the Conservative Party’s working simple majority in the House of Commons, which is 75 MPs.
If the rebels are resolute, they could threaten to deadlock the government’s legislative program, further eroding the Conservatives’ polling position and putting more pressure on Johnson, “In a note to clients, Kallum Pickering, senior economist at Berenberg Bank, wrote.
After two of its backbenchers were forced to leave amid their own scandals, the Conservatives are also facing two challenging parliamentary by-elections in late June. Losses in both surveys might put even more pressure on Johnson as the country prepares for a general election in 2024.
What choices does Johnson have now?
According to his pronouncements thus far, the Prime Minister intends to maintain his position. Downing Street said Johnson will gather his Cabinet on Tuesday and “pledge to continue delivering on what matters to the British people,” according to a statement released Tuesday morning.
Although Johnson was elected on Monday, the fate of his predecessor, Theresa May, will remain vivid in his mind.
Former British Prime Minister, Theresa May also faced a motion of no confidence, which was sparked by Conservative legislators. She won that election by a greater margin than Johnson, but she resigned a few months later. If Johnson’s reputation is irreparably harmed, he may decide for a voluntary exit rather than face the embarrassing downfall that she did, which led to Johnson’s election as Prime Minister.
A nuclear option would be to call a snap election, which Johnson declared he was not interested in on Monday. On Monday, Johnson was quick to remind his colleagues that it was he who led the party to its largest electoral victory in 40 years in 2019.
What possibilities does the opposition have?
On LBC radio, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said that Monday’s election would be “the beginning of the end” of Prime Minister David Cameron’s political career, regardless of the outcome.
Following the vote, Starmer declared Johnson “utterly unfit for the enormous office that he holds” and accused Conservative legislators of failing to listen to the British people.
He said, “The Conservative government now considers that breaking the law is no longer an impediment to changing the law.”
When Johnson went to a party to celebrate his birthday in violation of Covid-19 rules, he became the first British PM to be found guilty of breaking the law while in office.
When asked if the Labour Party was considering prompting another vote of confidence in Johnson, Starmer’s deputy, Angela Rayner, said on Tuesday that the opposition would “explore all alternatives.”
Following the result, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, dubbed Johnson impotent, with no real power by calling him an “utterly limp duck.”
“For the Conservatives, the result is unquestionably the worst of all possible worlds. But, more crucially, it saddles the UK with a complete lame-duck Prime Minister at a time when the country is facing enormous challenges” On Monday night, Sturgeon stated in a tweet.