U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is still certain to stay in office despite a no-confidence vote Monday night local time. Supporters of the Prime Minister say he has no reason to be removed from office and the rebellion within his own Conservative Party is unlikely to cause any effect on his position.
Johnson recently became the first prime minister officially found to have broken the law, due to his flouting of COVID-19 restrictions. And on Friday, he was loudly booed when he arrived at St Paul’s Cathedral for a service marking Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.
Johnson is a cheerleader for his country, but he sometimes breaks the rules. He often uses humor when trying to get out of tight spots, as well as charm and distractions. He is seen as a Teflon politician because in the past he has been able to manipulate political situations with ease. However, his handling of COVID may finally stick — this might be an opportunity to break him.
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To force a no-confidence vote in Britain’s parliamentary system, at least 15% of the leader’s party in the House of Commons must call for a vote, with members sending letters to their party’s parliamentary committee. For Johnson’s Tories, that threshold was recently reached and they are now requesting a vote.
The British Conservative Party needs to have at least 180 members be able to vote Johnson out. But if they don’t pass their resolution, the rebels are not allowed to challenge him for another 12 months.
Johnson’s conservative party is telling its fellow Tories to slow down, warning that internal disputes will only help the Labour Party, the Conservatives’ main enemy. They point out ongoing crises such as the current war in Ukraine, where the U.K. has been a leader in arming the Ukrainian army. They also urge lawmakers to focus on disaster areas such as the rising cost of living for Britons.
In December 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May survived an attempt to force her out during the aftermath of Brexit. But by the next summer’s end, May had resigned and Johnson’s tenure had begun.
Johnson is the only candidate in the race. He’s currently facing opposition from his own party, but if he doesn’t win, that party would face a lot of problems and could possibly lead to more turbulence in this election.
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Johnson’s brash style has been popular in the U.K. but it is now drawing a lot of public anger because of the way he and his staff behaved when COVID was under siege.
The UK government released a report late last month that found drunkenness in the British Prime Minister’s office. It also reviewed a party where one person vomited, red wine was splashed on the walls, and cleaning staff were abused. The report said the party was broken up by Johnson himself who had to pay a fine of $62 for breaking one of his own laws.
The COVID-19 scandal has infuriated many Britons. Just one is enough to change your life. Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that 180,000 people died in the U.K.
The prime minister’s actions contrasted with what others went through as they set an example. The queen famously did not attend her husband’s funeral, wearing a mask. When it became known that Johnson’s staff held intoxicated party on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral, they later apologized for it.
At Queen Elizabeth’s recent celebration, actor Stephen Fry drew cheers and laughs from a large audience at Buckingham Palace when he praised her decades of service and fortitude – seemingly at the expense of Boris Johnson, who was watching from the royal box.
“How are the trees being planted, the ribbons being cut, or the ships being launched?” Fry asked before landing a jab at what was said. “How many prime ministers were tolerated for that alone? No admiration is high enough.”
It has been suggested that Johnson’s popularity has dropped following the no-confidence vote. Some Conservative Party members are questioning whether he can lead them into the next leadership election, which is expected in 2024.
Johnson still faces an investigation from the privileges committee into whether he misled parliament over Partygate. Additionally, there are two by-elections coming up for parliament seats that were previously held by members of the Conservative Party. If the party loses those seats, it would also not bode well for Johnson’s leadership.