Tuesday 7 June 2022 03:43 PM What now for Boris? Potential landmines for PM after confidence vote trends now

Tuesday 7 June 2022 03:43 PM What now for Boris? Potential landmines for PM after confidence vote trends now
Tuesday 7 June 2022 03:43 PM What now for Boris? Potential landmines for PM after confidence vote trends now

Tuesday 7 June 2022 03:43 PM What now for Boris? Potential landmines for PM after confidence vote trends now

Boris Johnson is trying to move on from the Tory confidence vote today despite four in 10 MPs calling for him to quit.

But the PM is far from out of danger, with a series of hazards to navigate against the backdrop of an increasingly mutinous parliamentary party.

There are fears that the Conservatives are on track for disaster in looming by-elections in the Red Wall seat of Wakefield and the traditional blue heartland of Tiverton.

That could trigger another bout of plotting, especially as Mr Johnson is due to go on a nine-day foreign tour around the same time, leaving events to unfold in Westminster.   

Meanwhile, the cost-of-living crisis shows no sign of abating with the economy stalling and inflation predicted to reach double digits by the end of the year.

Despite his efforts to shift the dial, Partygate is also set to return as the powerful Privileges Committee investigates whether he deliberately misled the House of Commons.

Boris Johnson (pictured yesterday) is trying to move on from the Tory confidence vote despite four in 10 MPs calling for him to quit

Boris Johnson (pictured yesterday) is trying to move on from the Tory confidence vote despite four in 10 MPs calling for him to quit

The Tories have rules for how the leader can be ousted and replaced - although rebels point out they can always be changed

The Tories have rules for how the leader can be ousted and replaced - although rebels point out they can always be changed 

Has the PM seen off the threat of a confidence vote?

Tory rules state that a leader who wins a confidence vote cannot face another one for a year.

As Mr Johnson was the victor by 211 to 148 last night, in theory he should be immune until at least next June.

However, Theresa May also saw off a confidence vote in 2018, by a bigger margin, as she wrestled with Brexit.

That did not prevent her being forced to resign six months later, as when it became clear she would lose the 1922 executive merely threatened to change the rules to allow another vote. 

Tory rebels are already talking up the prospect of doing the same thing to Mr Johnson should his situation deteriorate further.

So what could spark another crisis?

The most immediate landmines in the premier's path are the by-elections on June 23. 

In Wakefield, where the previous Tory MP Ahmad Khan was convicted of sexual assault, polls suggest Labour have a 20-point lead.

A thumping defeat in one of the Red Wall constituencies that delivered Mr Johnson's historic 2019 landslide would be bad enough by itself.

But fears are also mounting that Tiverton & Honiton, in the Devon Tory heartlands, could also be lost. 

Neil Parish was forced to quit as the local MP after admitting watching porn in the Commons chamber. And the Lib Dems have been pouring resources into the area as part of their attack on the so-called 'Blue Wall'.

Losing both

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