‘Totally deluded’: Boris Johnson claims ‘convincing’ victory in confidence vote

·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·4-min read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seen during his meeting with the Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas, in 10 Downing Street, London, ahead of talks. Picture date: Monday June 6, 2022. See PA story POLITICS Johnson.
Boris Johnson tried to put a positive spin on his confidence vote. (PA)

Boris Johnson has survived a vote of no confidence, but a major rebellion has seen 148 of his own MPs try to oust the prime minister.

The final result, which saw just 211 out of 359 Conservative MPs (59%) vote in his favour, means Johnson can continue as leader of the Conservative Party and as prime minister.

He does so, however, with a significantly dented authority that will mean he is unlikely to have drawn a line under questions over his leadership.

In comparison, 37% of MPs voted against Theresa May during her no confidence ballot in 2019 before she resigned six months later.

Johnson was - in public at least - unperturbed by the result, calling it "convincing" and "decisive".

Speaking shortly after the result, Johnson tried to put a positive spin on a wounding result: “I think this is a very good result for politics and for the country," he said.

Watch: Boris Johnson survives vote of no confidence

He added it was “a convincing result, a decisive result, and what it means is that as a Government we can move on and focus on the stuff that I think really matters to people”.

Asked how it compared to past confidence votes in Conservative prime ministers, he added: “I have got a far bigger mandate from my own parliamentary colleagues than I had in 2019.”

Opposition MPs have criticised Johnson's response to the result, with Labour MP Angela Eagle tweeting Johnson's comments in the aftermath of the result were "totally deluded", while her colleague Jon Trickett MP said the PM was in "cloud cuckoo land".

Read more: 'Despite what you may think, Boris Johnson has never been that popular'

(Yahoo News UK)
A breakdown of how many Tory MPs voted against Boris Johnson. (Yahoo News UK)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said a “divided” Conservative Party is “propping up” Johnson in his position.

“The choice is clearer than ever before: Divided Tories propping up Boris Johnson with no plan to tackle the issues you are facing,” he tweeted.

“Or a united Labour Party with a plan to fix the cost-of-living crisis and restore trust in politics. Labour will get Britain back on track.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “That result is surely the worst of all worlds for the Tories.

“But much more importantly: at a time of huge challenge, it saddles the UK with an utterly lame duck PM.

Read more: Boris Johnson survives no-confidence vote: here's why he's still not safe

(Yahoo News UK)
Comparatively, Theresa May fared better in her vote of no confidence but left the position just months later. (Yahoo News UK)

“And for Scotland, it just underlines the democratic deficit – only 2 of (Scotland’s) 59 MPs have confidence in the PM.”

Johnson's closest allies, in contrast, celebrated the outcome.

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said it was a “comfortable” and “clear” win.

"The country would rightly be very, very upset if we as a party decided to ignore, what the wider party said when they elected him leader," he said.

“So, people have got to recognise they didn’t get the vote of no confidence through and what they should now do is say ‘okay, we respect the democratic decision of the party, we are gonna support the Prime Minister in getting on with the job’.”

Nadhim Zahawi said Boris Johnson won the vote “handsomely”.

Speaking to Sky News, the Education Secretary said: “I think the important thing to remember is that whichever side of the argument you’re on on this, the one thing we all believe in is democracy.

Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, announces that Boris Johnson has survived an attempt by Tory MPs to oust him as party leader following a confidence vote in his leadership at the Houses of Parliament in London. Picture date: Monday June 6, 2022.
Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, announces that Boris Johnson has survived an attempt by Tory MPs to oust him. (PA)

“That was a ballot, the Prime Minister won handsomely,” he added.

“I think the important thing to remember is that we only are able to deliver if we are united. I hope we can draw a line under this now and focused on delivery.”

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

Under current party rules, Johnson cannot face another no confidence vote for at least a year.

However, Graham Brady, a senior MP and chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, conceded earlier on Monday that those rules could be changed.

Tory MPs could vote to tweak the rules to allow another challenge to be held in six months, keeping the political pressure on the already-embattled PM.

The next challenges for Johnson will be two crucial by-elections on 23 June in Tiverton and Honiton, and Wakefield.

Pollsters predict the Conservatives will lose both seats.

A poor performance in either would heap new pressure on the PM, meaning he is far from out of the woods despite the victory.

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