UK: How does the process of confidence vote work? What’s next for Boris Johnson?

Amid growing criticism over the Partygate scandal, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson will now face a confidence vote later on Monday (June 6). The Johnson government was accused of hosting alcohol-fueled parties at Downing Street during coronavirus (COVID-19). During that period, such gatherings were not allowed across the nation. When details of such parties were out in public, the Prime Minister face massive backlash. A probe into the lockdown-breaking parties revealed that Johnson participated in the gatherings. Boris will now face a vote of confidence in his leadership after a number of lawmakers in the ruling Conservative Party questioned the British leader. He has apologised but said he would not resign. 

Now, if Boris loses the vote of confidence, his successor would take over in Downing Street. On the other hand, in case he wins, under the current rules, he will be immune from a further challenge for a year. Notably, he will be safe until the next election, due in 2024. 

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To formally request a confidence vote to the chairman of the party’s 1922 Committee for one to be triggered, at least 54 Conservative members of parliament are required. 

In a note, Graham Brady, chairman of the party’s 1922 Committee, said: “The threshold of 15% of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative Party has been exceeded.” 

Brady added, “The votes will be counted immediately afterwards. An announcement will be made at a time to be advised.” The 1922 Committee represents rank-and-file Conservative lawmakers. 

How does the process of confidence vote work? 

Johnson’s fate will be decided by Conservative MPs by secret ballot in a parliamentary committee room. The votes will be immediately counted, with an announcement expected “at a time to be advised”. 

Johnson needs half the votes cast plus one to win. As mentioned, he cannot be challenged again for a year. As per the current scenario, some 359 Conservative MPs are eligible to vote. It means that Boris needs the backing of his 180 lawmakers to continue leadership. 

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What’s next for Boris Johnson? 

If Johnson loses, his successor would take over. Meanwhile, a report by Telegraph mentioned that his allies have warned that there could be an early general election if the process goes awry for the British PM. 

A host of Tory MPs have come forward to say they do not believe the party can win the next general election under Johnson’s leadership. 

Opinion polls have shown deep public disapproval over the scandal, with large majorities of people saying Johnson knowingly lied about “Partygate” and that he should resign. 


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