Wounded Boris desperately clings to power
Having defeated a no-confidence vote within his own party, Boris Johnson survives as the UK’s Prime Minister and Tory leader for now. But the vote leaves him badly wounded, perhaps fatally so.
Mr Johnson survived the no-confidence vote by 211 votes (58%) to 148 (42%) with a majority of 63 votes. Theoretically, this shields the embattled Prime Minister for a year, but as Mrs May has taught us this may not quite be the case. Former British Prime Minister Theresa May, who survived a similar vote with 63% of Tory MPs voting for her, had to quit a little under 6 months after the vote. Historically, Tory leaders who have survived no-confidence votes with such uncomfortable margins don’t last long. London is already buzzing with chatter about who the next Tory leader might be.
Mr Johnson isn’t popular with the British public either. YouGov’s polling data suggests that 69% of the British public think Mr Johnson is doing badly. Despite being disliked by his own MPs and the general public, Mr Johnson declared his victory decisive and showed no signs of self-reflection let alone course correction. This begs the question of whether Mr Johnson and his inner circle have started to believe their own propaganda that he has unbeatable popularity among rural and sub-urban voters which makes him indispensable to the party.
Mr Johnson is by no means at the end of the storm. An investigation by the Privilege Committee of the House of Commons to determine whether he lied to Parliament over Partygate is ongoing. The result of this investigation which could very well come out against Mr Johnson might be the perfect backdrop to his ousting.
Surviving through support from a reluctant cabinet who will have no trouble throwing him under the bus, it seems it would take nothing short of a miracle for Mr Johnson to remain in power for long.