Rebel Tories say Boris Johnson should consider position despite confidence vote victory | Politics News


Boris Johnson narrowly survived the greatest threat to his leadership so far after winning a vote of confidence among Tory MPs.

Some 148 MPs voted against him and 211 said they still support him as Tory leader – a worse result than when former prime minister Theresa May survived the same vote, though months later she was gone.

Here is the latest reaction from Conservative cabinet ministers and MPs.

Boris Johnson leadership vote result

PM suffers bigger rebellion than Theresa May – follow latest updates

Julian Sturdy, who voted against Mr Johnson, said the prime minister should consider his position despite winning a majority.

The MP for York Outer tweeted: “The scale of the vote against the prime minister this evening is clear evidence that he no longer enjoys the full-hearted confidence of the parliamentary party and should consider his position.

“As someone who supported Boris Johnson in leadership election & wants to deliver the manifesto promises made at 2019 GE, it is regrettable that I had to vote against the PM but I no longer have confidence in his ability to lead us through the challenges we face as a nation.”

Sir Roger Gale, an outspoken critic of the prime minister, said he thinks Mr Johnson should not lead the Tories into the next election.

“Over a third of the parliamentary party has expressed no confidence in the prime minister,” he told Sky News.

“I don’t believe that he should take the party into the next general election and I think there are other elephant traps down the road – two by-elections coming up, the Privileges Committee report in the autumn.

“There are a lot of hurdles ahead and I think a prime minister of honour would look at the figures, accept the fact that he has lost the support of a significant proportion of his party and consider his position, but I don’t think he’ll do that.”

Former Conservative party leader William Hague has said the rebellion against Mr Johnson’s leadership was brought on by a “wider loss of faith that eventually brings on a crisis – but at a time no single individual or grouping chose”.

Writing in The Times, he said there is “no single policy that has turned much of his party against him” as was the case with the poll tax and Margaret Thatcher or Ms May’s Brexit deal.

Lord Hague said “it is clear that a fair number of MPs on the ministerial payroll joined this rebellion in the privacy of the polling booth”, adding: “The nature of their revolt has an important bearing on what happens next.

“They are not a faction that has been seen off, or an alternative policy direction that has been defeated. They represent instead a widespread feeling, a collapse of faith, that almost certainly cannot be repaired or reversed.

“For Johnson, continuing to lead the party after such a revolt will prove to be unsustainable.”

Members of the cabinet rallied around the prime minister. Chancellor Rishi Sunak, often mooted as a potential successor to Mr Johnson, tweeted: “The PM has won the confidence vote and now it’s time to move forward. Tomorrow we get back to work growing the economy and delivering better public services.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News that Mr Johnson had won “handsomely” and it was now time to “draw a line” and “focus on delivering”.

Pressed on how he can call the result “handsome”, Mr Zahawi said: “It’s a ballot. 50 plus one is a majority. Boris did much better than that.”

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‘The PM won the vote handsomely’

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the party must now move past talk of ousting Mr Johnson.

“Pleased that colleagues have backed the prime minister. I support him 100%. Now’s the time to get on with the job,” she said.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries struck a similar chord to many of her cabinet colleagues, saying it was “time to get back to the job of governing”.

“The person Starmer doesn’t want to face at an election is Boris Johnson who secured the biggest Conservative majority since 1987 and the highest share of the vote (43.6 per cent) of any party since 1979, with 14 million votes,” she tweeted.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove did not describe the victory as a resounding one, but said simply that Mr Johnson had “secured the support of Conservative MPs”.

He tweeted that the party must now “carry out what we were elected to deliver – levelling up, cutting crime, securing the benefits of Brexit and improving public services. Let’s get on with delivery and focus on the people’s priorities”.

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PM ‘not interested’ in snap elections

Minister James Cleverly posted on social media that it was a “clear win” for the prime minister – despite him being rejected by 41% of his own MPs.

He tweeted: “Greater percentage than in his initial leadership competition, greater percentage that Starmer got in his leadership competition. Now we must all get back to work on behalf of the people of the UK.”

Conservative MP Michael Fabricant said the result was a “lot better” than he had feared.

“I think it’s a good win. It’s a lot better than I feared it might be. So, that’s very good,” said the Lichfield MP.

When told there were more votes against Mr Johnson than against Theresa May in 2019, he said: “Theresa May then decided to do a deal with Labour to have a second referendum. That ain’t gonna happen, so there is no comparison.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Mr Johnson had “secured a fresh mandate” and it was now time to “unite and focus”.

Wales Secretary Simon Hart told Sky News the result was “slightly better than expected”.

“Boris Johnson has gone from getting 51% when he was elected as leader to 60% tonight and that’s an interesting movement, if you like, in the voting numbers,” he said.

Challenged by Sky News’ Sophy Ridge that he was comparing “apples and pears”, Mr Hart said: “I would like to say I have been consistent – I’m trying to be as consistent as possible.

“All I’m saying is that we vote on multiple issues, multiple times a day in this building. The rules of engagement are very clear – the person with the most votes wins.”


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