Is Boris Johnson's luck finally about to run out?
Will he win a vote of no confidence? And if doesn't who might replace him?
(Photo by Leon Neal - WPA Pool /Getty Images)
Well here we are again with Boris Johnson hanging over the precipice. It’s been a theme of this substack since we launched five months ago but so far he has clung on, despite clearly misleading the Commons, becoming the first Prime Minister to be found by the police to have broken the law, a dire set of local election results, and exceptionally low approval ratings.
His party appeared to be on the verge of removing him in January but then the police got involved and delayed things long enough for the crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine to put off Johnson’s day of reckoning for several months. He’s also been helped by the self-immolation of his chancellor, who was the favourite to take over back then. But at last we may be on the verge of a confidence vote, which is triggered when 54 MPs (15% of the total) write to Sir Graham Brady, Chair of the backbench 1922 committee.
Over the past week there has been a substantial increase in the number of Tories either publicly calling for Johnson to go now (30) or being highly critical of his behaviour (another 40 or so). When previous leaders were challenged, many sent in letters without making any public statements. When the threshold of 48 letters for Theresa May was met, only 27 MPs had gone public with their concerns. There are rumours that the magic number has already been reached and Brady is just waiting until the Jubilee is over before making the announcement.
For the purposes of this post I’m going to assume there will be a contest either next week or at some point over the next month (by-election losses in Wakefield and Tiverton on the 23rd June could act as a trigger for a few more letters if the target isn’t met before then). But of course this comes with the caveat that we cannot be sure any contest will happen and the speculation may way melt away as the summer recess beckons.
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