Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a vote of no confidence today after many of his Conservative MPs expressed doubts about his leadership. The Prime Minister, who was just booed at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, faces another tough day on June 6.
10 Downing Street is presenting this as an opportunity to leave partygate and poll nightmares behind. A statement released this morning said: “Tonight is a chance to end months of speculation and allow the government to draw a line and move on and implement people’s priorities. The Prime Minister welcomes the opportunity to present his case to MPs.”
However, history says that a vote of no confidence in the prime ministers is not the end of the matter. Three former Tory MPs went through it – and it didn’t end well for any of them.
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What happens if Boris wins?
A no-confidence vote will be triggered when 54 Tory MPs table letters of no-confidence against him. Former Minister Jesse Norman is the latest to confirm he did so.
In a letter to Mr Johnson posted on social media, Mr Norman, the MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, said the Prime Minister had “led a culture of random breaking the law” in No 10. However, this means nothing on paper if Boris wins the vote.
He becomes prime minister again, knowing that at least half of his own party will support him.
What if Boris loses?
If he loses there will be a motion of no confidence – which would be the beginning of the end for his leadership.
So is this the end?
Well, on paper, yes. In practice no.
The last three Conservative MPs to face a no-confidence vote all won and left office shortly thereafter.
In 2018, Theresa May survived with 200 out of 317 Tory MP votes. In 2019 she resigned.
Then Prime Minister John Major survived a vote of confidence and carried on with his business – until he was defeated by Labor in the next general election. Before him, Margaret Thatcher survived a very narrow vote of no confidence – before her cabinet finally withdrew.