February 1, 2023

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Boris Johnson remains UK prime minister — but his days are ‘numbered’

2 min read

Johnson will visit Northern Ireland on Monday to hold emergency talks.

Daniel Leal | Afp | Getty Images

LONDON — U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a vote of confidence on Monday night but discontent over his leadership is expected to rumble on, with analysts stating that his days in office are numbered.

Monday’s vote saw Johnson win the backing of most of his Conservative lawmakers, but by a much slimmer margin than his supporters had hoped.

The vote — triggered by his own lawmakers amid increasing dissatisfaction in his leadership — saw 211 Tory MPs voting in favor of the prime minister, while 148 voted against him.

Johnson needed a simple majority of 180 MPs to win the vote, but the figure of 148 was worse than many expected and means that over 40% of his own lawmakers have no confidence in the prime minister —despite his efforts to win their support.

Johnson’s vulnerability is thrown into stark relief when compared to that of former leader Theresa May’s. She had more support in a similar vote in 2018 — but resigned as prime minister just six months later.

Many MPs will now be scrutinizing public sentiment towards Johnson to gauge whether he is the right leader to take the party forward to the next general election, which has to take place before January 2025.

In the near-term, support for the Conservative Party will be put to the test in two by-elections in West Yorkshire and Devon later this month.

Current party rules state that Johnson — having survived the confidence vote — cannot face another for 12 months, but analysts say the rebellion against Johnson could grow so large that those rules are changed.

“[The vote] was a lot closer than Boris Johnson’s allies expected, or indeed, hoped,” Tim Bale, professor of Politics at Queen Mary University of London, told CNBC on Monday.

“To some extent we assume that the Conservatives will lose both of those by-elections, but we shouldn’t minimize the impact. They will worry a lot of MPs who are sitting on…

2022-06-07 02:53:00

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