British PM Boris Johnson wins no-confidence vote, survives party-gate scandal | World News

Boris Johnson held back a challenge from the rebels to remain leader of the Conservative Party, though the margin of victory weakened the British Prime Minister and exposed the divisions that could still sink him.

In a secret ballot in the British Parliament on Monday night, 211 Tory MPs voted for Johnson, compared to 148 against. The uprising was bigger than that of predecessor Theresa May, who was ousted as prime minister six months later after failing to unite the party.

Pressure on Johnson has been mounting for weeks over so-called ‘party gate’ events in Downing Street amid the pandemic for which the 57-year-old prime minister was fined by the police. A report by senior official Sue Gray found that many of them should not have been admitted.

But the discontent among MPs goes well beyond the illegal gatherings, and Johnson’s leadership is likely to remain shaky despite winning the vote.

Many within his party were frustrated at having to defend controversial policies only for the government to reverse. A windfall tax on energy companies was proposed by the opposition Labor party and rejected by Johnson before he later adopted the idea. Increases in government spending have enraged some Conservatives, while others are concerned that his plan to tear up the Brexit deal over Northern Ireland will cause their party to violate international law.

Recent history suggests his tenure could come to an end before he has the chance to run in the next election, currently slated for 2024. In a vote on her Brexit policy, May survived a confidence vote by a majority of 83 in Dec 2018.

Damaged Leader

The vote itself was a blow to Johnson. It was triggered by 15% of Conservative MPs filing a declaration of no-confidence in a leader who led the party to its biggest general election victory in more than three decades in 2019.

Under current rules, Tory MPs would not be allowed to hold a confidence vote for a year. However, it would be possible to change the rules to hold a new vote earlier.

On Monday, former Secretary of State Jesse Norman published a letter to Johnson berating the Prime Minister and accusing him of “a lack of sense of mission”. John Penrose, who had been appointed by Johnson to lead his anti-corruption agenda, also resigned. He said Johnson had broken the country’s ministerial code, which would normally lead to his dismissal.

Tory fears Johnson could cost them the next election will be bolstered by new polls suggesting the party will be defeated by two special votes on June 23.

The Wakefield seat is one of the historic Labor constituencies in northern England — the so-called Red Wall — whose defection helped win the vast majority of the House of Commons for the Tories in 2019. On Sunday, pollster JL Partners put Labor 20 points ahead.

The Conservatives also face humiliation in a separate by-election in Tiverton and Honiton in the south west of England. Bookmakers put the Liberal Democrats as favorites to conquer the Tory stronghold. Both votes were caused by the resignations of Tory MPs over separate sex scandals.

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