Live updates: Boris Johnson confidence vote
Boris Johnson is not the first sitting Prime Minister to face a confidence vote.
In fact, it’s a rare issue over which he and his predecessor, Theresa May, could bond.
But May’s confidence motion, along with several other historical polls on the leadership of Tory leaders, shows that even “winning” a vote is a dark omen for a Prime Minister.
May faced a leadership challenge when MPs grew frustrated over her inability to force a Brexit deal through a severely deadlocked parliament. She survived the vote with the support of 200 MPs, against 117 who opposed her.
That’s a relatively healthy margin — and if Johnson clings onto power on Monday, many observers will be comparing his score with that of May’s.
But the vote essentially made public the deep dissatisfaction in May within her own party, and her reputation was severely damaged. She went on to resign several months later, after seeing her Brexit plan defeated in Parliament three times.
The last Conservative Prime Minister to face such a serious threat to their tenure was John Major, who in 1995 resigned as Conservative leader — but not as PM — so that he could compete in a party vote and resecure his position.
Major defeated his only rival handily, winning the support of two-thirds of his MPs. But he went on to lose in a landslide election to Labour leader Tony Blair, which put the Conservative Party into opposition for a generation.
And in 1990, a similar process took place that ended Margaret Thatcher’s 11-year stretch as Prime Minister.
Thatcher earned the support of just over half of her lawmakers in the first round of voting, a result that all but cemented her fate. She withdrew before a second round and Major went on to become leader.
Conservative MPs will be keenly aware of that history as they file through Parliament to cast their votes on Monday night.
Johnson may well survive, given the significant leap from the 15% of MPs required to trigger a vote, to the 50% needed to oust him.
But even a narrow victory would mark a dark day in Johnson’s premiership, and allow opposition parties to cast him as a lame duck leader.
Quoted from Various Sources
Published for: Ipodifier