June 8, 2022

Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a no-confidence vote on Monday, securing enough support from his Conservative Party to remain in office… Johnson won the backing of 211 out of 359 Conservative lawmakers in a secret ballot, more than the simple majority needed to remain in power, but still a significant rebellion of 148 MPs… Known for his ability to shrug off scandals, the charismatic leader has struggled to turn the page on revelations that he and his staff repeatedly held boozy parties that flouted the COVID-19 restrictions they imposed on others.” AP News

Many on both sides agree that Johnson’s political future looks bleak:

“On Monday night, more than four out of 10 of his colleagues said that Mr Johnson should go. That rebels could be found from all wings of the party, rather than in one organised faction, is an indication of how far the rot has spread…

“With such backbench resentment, it is hard to see how Mr Johnson will get the 38 bills in his Queen’s speech through parliament. The prime minister has been unable to convince the public that he has the answers to household incomes being squeezed by inflation and public services being stretched to breaking point post-pandemic. His rhetoric of ready fixes and easy wheezes might have been funny once, but no one is laughing in a crisis. Voters won’t believe a prime minister who has repeatedly failed to tell the truth about Downing Street’s pandemic partying. It will take more than a reshuffle to restore confidence in Mr Johnson’s premiership.”

Editorial Board, The Guardian

“In British politics, there is no such thing as victory in a confidence vote. Instead, it tends to mark the beginning of the end, the start of a leader’s slow death. Theresa May announced her resignation less than six months after winning hers (by a bigger margin), while Margaret Thatcher lasted just 48 hours. John Major managed to stay in office after winning his. The result was electoral annihilation… Mr. Johnson is now badly, perhaps fatally, wounded. The likelihood that he leads the party into the next election has plummeted…

“Conservatives backed him primarily not because they liked him or owed him loyalty or thought he shared their vision. They backed him because they believed he was a winner. Now that this no longer seems to be the case — the Conservatives, suffering from Mr. Johnson’s nosediving popularity, are polling seven percentage points behind the opposition Labour Party — lawmakers are revising their opinions.”

Katy Balls, New York Times

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