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Johnson faces confidence motion over ‘Partygate’

The politicians of the UK’s governing Conservative Party will hold a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday that could remove him as Britain’s leader as well as the head of the Conservative Party.

Party official Graham Brady said he had received enough letters from Members of Parliament demanding a vote on Johnson’s leadership to trigger one.

That happens if 54 Tory politicians – 15 percent of the party’s group in the House of Commons – write to Brady.

“The threshold of 15 percent has been passed,” Brady said. He said the vote would take place in person in the House of Commons on Monday between 6pm and 8pm (17:00-19:00 GMT).

Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, told Al Jazeera it was not surprising that the Tory lawmakers requested the vote.

“The polling for the Conservative Party has taken a fairly dramatic downturn in recent weeks, in particular the polling numbers of Boris Johnson, which had never been that great, really headed south over the last few weeks,” he said.

“For the Conservative MPs, the key issue is who is going to be best able to help them keep their seats in the next election and Boris Johnson became more of a liability than an asset in that regard.”

If Johnson loses the vote among the 359 Conservative politicians, he will be replaced as Conservative leader and prime minister. If he wins, he cannot face another challenge for a year.

Draw a line

The vote is a chance “to draw a line and move on”, a Downing Street spokesperson said, shortly after the vote was announced.

“The PM welcomes the opportunity to make his case to MPs and will remind them that when they’re united and focused on the issues that matter to voters there is no more formidable political force,” the spokesperson added.

A majority of Conservative politicians – or 180 – would have to vote against Johnson for him to be removed – a level some Conservatives say might be difficult to reach.

Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands, reporting from London, said: “The last time there was a successful vote of no-confidence in a prime minister was in 1979.

That’s going back a few years. Mostly prime ministers win these sort of things and I think most people are expecting Boris Johnson to survive this one.”

“It doesn’t mean that he is out of the woods. The nature of the victory would be crucial … Does he squeak through? Is it conclusive?”


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