Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a “No Confidence” vote in Parliament on Monday, carrying the vote 211-148 — a majority of 63 — despite needing only a simple majority to retain his office.
The vote came about as Britain’s post-COVID economy — like many others — struggles to combat skyrocketing prices for energy and food. Relentless inflation — along with multiple reports indicating that Johnson had attended a number of illegal gatherings while his country was locked down — prompted discontent from many citizens and members of Parliament.
Tensions were so high earlier in the week that when Johnson arrived at a service during Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee — celebrating her 70 years on the throne — that he was greeted with a mixture of boos and cheers from the crowd.
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Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Committee, announced that a no-confidence vote would be held late on Monday, after at least 54 MPs sent in letters calling for it.
“I can report as returning officer that 359 ballots were cast, no spoilt ballots, that the vote in favour of having confidence in Boris Johnson as leader was 211 votes and a vote against was 148 votes,” Brady said after the votes were tallied. “And therefore, I can announce that the parliamentary party does have confidence in Boris Johnson.”
Johnson spoke to media after the vote, saying that it was time for everyone to unite and move forward.
“I think this is a very good result for politics and for the country … 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,” he said, adding, “I have got a far bigger mandate from my own parliamentary colleagues than I had in 2019.”
“I see no point in focusing on anything else and I’m certainly not interested in snap elections. What I’m interested in is delivering right now for the people of this country,” Johnson concluded.
Some pointed out that Johnson, who won his no-confidence vote 59%-41%, won with a slimmer margin than several prime ministers who had faced similar situations.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May faced a no-confidence vote in December of 2018, and she won 63%-37% – she resigned 5 months later. Margaret Thatcher faced one in 1989, but won hers handily — 84%-16%. Even then, opposition built over the subsequent year lead to her being ousted in a similar vote in 1990. John Major also came out ahead of Johnson in his 1995 no-confidence vote, with 66% supporting him – the subsequent 1997 general election is widely considered to be the worst electoral showing for the Conservative Party in the 20th century, as the Labour Party won a 179 seat majority and controlled for the first time in 18 years.