Johnson: Johnson faces UK parliament for first time since no-confidence vote

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a boisterous parliament on Wednesday in his first appearance before lawmakers since narrowly fending off a damaging vote of no confidence from his own Conservative MPs.
His supporters are likely to stage a vociferous show of support when he stands up to his weekly prime minister’s questions.
Critics have warned, however, that the political crisis for the embattled prime minister is not over after more than 40 percent of his own MPs voted against him on Monday’s no-confidence vote.
Johnson, who called the 211-148 vote a “convincing result”, has vowed to plow through and said it was time to “draw a line” amid questions about his leadership and the “Partygate” controversy over the lockdown. breaking events in Downing Street.
The prime minister’s team has tried to win back the offensive by pointing to a speech planned in the coming days on new economic support measures as Britons grapple with a cost of living crisis.
But many doubt Johnson can restore voter confidence as the party braces for two Westminster midterm elections this month and an upcoming inquiry by MPs into whether he lied to parliament about “Partygate”.
Even without an obvious candidate to succeed him, former Tory party leader William Hague argued this week that Johnson should now “seek an honorable exit”.
Comparing Monday’s margin to votes that eventually toppled Johnson predecessors Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, Hague said it showed “a greater level of rejection than any Tory leader has ever endured and survived” .
“Deep down, he should recognize that, and focus on going out in a way that spares party and country such pain and uncertainty,” Hague wrote in The Times.
The Guardian reported on Wednesday that conservative MPs from the rebels were drafting plans for “vote strikes” to cripple the government’s legislative agenda, as happened at the end of the May term.
The newspaper also said the prime minister is now facing a “war of attrition” with rebels pushing for his removal, despite his narrow victory in the no-confidence vote.
Johnson, 57, needed the support of 180 of the 359 Conservative MPs to survive the vote.
Most of Johnson’s cabinet publicly supported him in the secret ballot. But more than 40 percent of the parliamentary party did not.
The scale of the uprising “poses a crisis for Downing Street,” said Anand Menon, a professor of politics at King’s College London.
“I think there is little doubt that the prime minister’s vulnerability will be the single most important factor determining what this government does in the near future,” Menon told AFP.
Under current Tory rules, the Prime Minister cannot be re-challenged for a year, leaving little time for a new leader before the next general election in 2024.
But the party’s 1922 “committee” of MPs charged with overseeing leadership challenges says it can easily change the rules if a majority supports it.
The Liberal Democrats are now pushing for a parliamentary vote of no confidence after Johnson survived the Tory uprising.
“Liberal Democrats are filing a no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister so Parliament can finally put an end to this sad mess,” party leader Ed Davey said.
“Any Conservative MP with a shred of decency should support our motion and fire Boris Johnson.”
If the government were to lose a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons, it would have to call an early general election.
That seems unlikely at the moment given the conservative majority, but Johnson could face a challenging period in the coming months.
Senior backbencher Tobias Ellwood, who voted against Johnson, said the prime minister was living on borrowed time.
“I think we’re talking about a matter of months until the party conference (in October),” he told Sky News.

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