Boris Johnson 'rattled' after confidence vote says Marland
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A little over 40 percent of Tory MPs earlier this week said they had no confidence in Mr Johnson. Rebels were just 32 votes away from booting him out of Number 10 following months of angst over what has been dubbed ‘Partygate’ and public dismay over the Government’s lack of small-c conservative policies.
Ahead of Monday’s vote, those supportive of the Prime Minister said it was important to keep him in the job and to not trigger a lengthy leadership contest because of the day-to-day significance of the Russo-Ukraine war.
Mr Zelensky has now expressed his own pleasure over the fact Mr Johnson remains in office.
In an online event, the Ukrainian President described this as “great news”.
He said: “I’m glad we haven’t lost an important ally.”
Mr Zelensky also stressed that Mr Johnson was a “true friend of Ukraine” and a “concrete” supporter of the country’s efforts.
When visiting Kyiv in April, the Prime Minister pledged “unwavering support” for its regime against the Russian invasion.
The UK was also among the first to provide weapons to support Ukraine’s response and has imposed a wide range of sanctions against Moscow, even to the detriment of its own, home economy.
Referring to the ongoing war before MPs decided his fate, the Prime Minister insisted it was the wrong time for “unforced domestic political drama”.
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In a telephone conversation held on the day on the vote, he talked with Mr Zelensky and promised a range of new measures to help boost Ukrainian forces.
The President reported in a post on Twitter: “[I] received confirmation of a new enhanced defence support package for Ukraine. Raised the issue of intensifying work on security guarantees.
“Jointly with the UK, we’re looking for ways to avoid the food crisis and unblock ports.”
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But their conversations could still come to an end yet, with critics of the Prime Minister insisting they won’t simply roll over and accept the vote.
Tim Stanley, writing in the Telegraph, joked: “‘The Parliamentary party has confidence in Boris Johnson,’ said Sir Graham [Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Committee]. But I have greater confidence we’ll be hearing from Sir Graham again very soon.”
As they stand, Tory party rules protect a leader from another confidence vote for at least a year.
There are, however, rumours that this could be changed, with Spectator Chairman Andrew Neil writing in a post on Twitter before the vote that this rule, “in practice”, was “flexible and permeable”.
Sir Graham, quoted in the Guardian, also noted: “Technically it’s possible for rules to be changed but the rule at present is there would be a period of grace.”
Many have highlighted the fact the Prime Minister came out worse in this vote than former PM Theresa May did in a 2019 confidence vote, six months after which she was out of the job.
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