Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued an apology in the House of Commons after admitting he attended a garden party at Downing Street on May 20, 2020 when the country was in lockdown.
It appeared to contradict his earlier claim that he was angry at reports that parties had taken place. And he insisted he hadn’t realized it was a party, telling the Commons: “Walking into this garden just after six on May 20th 2020 to thank groups of staff before I returned to my office 25 minutes later to continue working, I implicitly believed this to be a work event.
Labor leader Keir Starmer has accused the Prime Minister of lying. Starmer said: “He pretended … he was disgusted and angry about the parties, now it turns out he was at the parties the whole time. Can’t the Prime Minister understand why the British public thinks he’s lying through his teeth?”
READ MORE: Boris Johnson admits he attended Downing Street party and apologizes
Some people will believe the Prime Minister and others will not. But what if he lied? Can he be fired for this?
There are strict rules that say any MP who misleads Parliament must apologize. Including the Prime Minister.
But the answer is no – he would not be fired for lying. At least not directly.
Conservative MPs could opt to replace him as leader, meaning he would also stop being prime minister. And they’re more likely to do so when voters have lost faith in Mr Johnson and don’t trust him to tell the truth.
Under Conservative Party rules, a vote of no confidence in the leader takes place when 15% of Tory MPs write to the leader of the party’s 1922 committee representing backbench Conservative MPs asking for one. That’s 55 MEPs.
When enough letters are received, a secret vote is held to decide whether the leader stays or goes. If a majority votes to support Mr Johnson, he would remain party leader and no new vote of no confidence would be allowed for 12 months.
But if he lost that vote, the Conservative Party would hold a contest to choose a new leader. Mr Johnson would be barred from standing but any other Tory MP could stand.
Only Conservative MPs are involved in this process.
Separately, it is also possible for an opposition party to call for a vote of no confidence in the government, involving the entire House of Commons.
But that is a different procedure. If the government loses that sort of no-confidence vote, it could lead to a general election, but it wouldn’t really stop Boris Johnson from being Conservative leader – nor would it necessarily remove him as prime minister, unless the Tories lost that general choice.
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