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Stream Of Letters Raising Confidence Vote Risk For PM Johnson


Rumours swirling in Westminster that Prime Minister Boris Johnson could face a confidence vote in early June. There is speculation that the threshold of 54 letters of no confidence being submitted to the chair of the the 1922 Committee (the group of backbench Conservative MPs) is about to be hit, triggering a confidence vote in the PM.

  • There is no way of telling how many letters have definitevly been submitted. Tom Larkin at Sky has the tally of Conservative MPs calling publicly for Johnson to go at 27, with 12 more questioning the PM's position.
  • If/when the threshold (equating to 15% of the parliamentary party) is hit, there is no rule as to when 1922 chair Sir Graham Brady has to announce that a confidence vote would take place. There is general expectation that even if the threshold has already been hit, or is done in the next two days, no announcement would take place before the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for HM Queen Elizabeth II taking place this weekend.
  • There is also speculation of 'tripwire letters' having been sent in by Johnson loyalists. Once the threshold is hit, these MPs would be notified by Brady before any public announcement (as they are entitled to request), at which point they withdraw their letters and notify No.10 that a breach of the threshold is imminent. At this point Johnson's supporters can launch into a full charm offensive to try to avoid further letters or encourage withdrawals.
  • In the event a confidence vote is publicly called it would likely take place in short time. All 359 Conservative MPs can vote. If Johnson retains the confidence of 50%+1 of his party (180 MPs) then he remains in office and cannot be challenged for the next 12 months. If 180 or more MPs vote they do not have confidence in his leadership then a leadership contest is called and Johnson is ineligible to take part.

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