British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wins the confidence of Conservative MPs but comes out of the vote very weak

Boris Johnson has overcome a risk of sudden political death, but is seriously weakened and possibly even fatally injured. Monday June 6, at the end of a day under high tension in Westminster, the British Prime Minister won a vote of confidence organized against him by his own parliamentary majority. But if 211 Conservative MPs wanted him to remain at the head of the Party, 148 others, or 41% of the total voters, put a ballot in the ballot box for him to leave Downing Street. A victory much tighter than expected by the entourage of the leader, who counted at the start of the day on a rebellion contained under 100 votes of no confidence.

This surprise vote was provoked by the arrival, in recent weeks, of at least 54 letters from elected officials calling for the departure of Mr. Johnson on the desk of Graham Brady, the Tory MP responsible for making the count. Beyond the letters (sent by 15% of the college of elected Conservatives), a vote of confidence, by secret ballot, must be organized “as soon as possible”, according to the internal rules of the party. This fateful threshold was reached at the heart of the celebrations of the platinum jubilee – the 70 years of reign of Queen Elizabeth II –, between June 2 and 5. But Mr. Brady preferred to postpone his announcement until Monday morning, so as not to spoil a historic celebration under the sign of national unity.

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The missives are all motivated by the “partygate” scandal, these parties held in Downing Street between 2020 and 2021, during the confinements. Boris Johnson may have apologized on several occasions for these patent violations of health rules enacted by his own government, dozens of elected Tories question his sincerity. In one of the very last missives received by Mr. Brady, made public on Monday morning, Jesse Norman, a former secretary to the Treasury of Mr. Johnson, until now very discreet, describes as “grotesque” the attitude of the Prime Minister, who acts as if he were “bleached” by senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report on the Downing Street parties. Published at the end of May, this report nevertheless points “a culture of non-compliance with health laws” at the heart of the British executive.

Arithmetic victory but not necessarily political

In a video released after the vote on Monday evening, Boris Johnson overplayed confidence, ensuring that the result of the vote was “extremely good, positive, conclusive, decisive”and that he was going to allow his government to “leave the ‘partygate’ behind” for ” to concentrate ” on its policies aimed at ” helping people “. In the coming days, the leader could announce measures in favor of purchasing power (such as the opening of a right to buy their housing at a preferential price for tenants) and formally table in Parliament a very controversial bill. aimed at erasing entire sections of the Northern Irish protocol, a crucial part of the Brexit treaty with the European Union.

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