LAME DUCK PM

The result of the confidence vote means Johnson secured the backing of 59% of his lawmakers, lower than the support given to his predecessor Theresa May in a confidence vote she faced in 2018…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a confidence vote on Monday but a rebellion by 148 of his 359 Conservative Party lawmakers dealt a serious blow to his authority.

A majority of the Conservatives’ lawmakers – at least 180 – would have had to vote against Johnson for him to be removed.

The result means Johnson secured the backing of 59% of his lawmakers, lower than the support given to his predecessor Theresa May in a confidence vote she faced in 2018.

Having scored a sweeping election victory in 2019, the prime minister has been under mounting pressure after he and staff held alcohol-fuelled parties in his Downing Street office and residence when Britain was under strict Covid-19 lockdowns.

Such is the anger that the party triggered a challenge, forcing an anonymous vote of confidence in a leader who had once seemed unassailable.

The move led to lawmakers from different wings of the party revealing that they had turned against their leader. One former ally accused the prime minister of insulting both the electorate and the party by staying in power.

“You have presided over a culture of casual law-breaking at 10 Downing Street in relation to Covid,” Jesse Norman, a former junior minister, said before the vote.

Johnson’s anti-corruption chief John Penrose also quit.

Dozens of Conservative lawmakers have voiced concern that Johnson, 57, could be losing his authority to govern Britain, which is facing the risk of recession, rising fuel and food prices and strike-inflicted travel chaos in the capital London.

But his cabinet of leading ministers rallied around him and highlighted what they said were the successes of the government: a quick rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations and Britain’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I think it’s an extremely good, positive, conclusive, decisive result which enables us to move on, to unite and to focus on delivery and that is exactly what we are going to do,” said Johnson shortly after the result was out.

“What this means tonight is that we can focus on what we’re doing to help people on the cost of living, with what we are doing to keep streets and communities safer,” he said.

“It gives us the chance to unite, strengthen and level up our economy. What we are going to do now is to take the opportunity to unite and deliver,” he added.

Despite Johnson’s survival in the vote, his political rivals took a shot at the turmoil within the Conservative Party as the 148 votes against him meant more than 40 percent of the Conservative lawmakers wanted him to go.

“The choice is clearer than ever before. Divided Tories propping up Boris Johnson with no plan to tackle the issues you are facing. Or a united Labour Party with a plan to fix the cost of living crisis and restore trust in politics. Labour will get Britain back on track,” tweeted Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said: “Whilst Boris Johnson has clung on today – make no mistake, his reputation is in tatters and his authority is now totally shot.”

“Every Conservative MP who cares about integrity and decency must do the right thing, resign the whip and sit as an independent. For the sake of our country, this failing Prime Minister cannot be propped up any longer,” he said.

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