Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson survives confidence vote

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has survived a confidence vote that could have seen him removed from power.

Despite profound discontent within his ruling Conservative Party, Johnson won a vote of confidence on Monday by 211 to 148 votes.

Winning the vote means there cannot be another leadership challenge for a year, but the rebellion by 148 of his 359 Conservative Party legislators has dealt a serious blow to his authority.

Johnson put a positive spin on surviving the confidence vote, saying his “convincing” and “decisive” victory would now enable the country to move on.

“I think it’s 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 told reporters.

The confidence vote was triggered on Monday when party official Graham Brady said he had received letters calling for a no-confidence vote in Johnson from at least 54 Conservative Party members of parliament – enough to trigger the measure under party rules.

Johnson needed to win the backing of a simple majority of the 359 Conservative legislators in the parliament of the United Kingdom to remain in power. If Johnson had failed to secure that majority, the party would have been forced to choose a new leader who would also have become the next prime minister.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he meets Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a meeting with his Estonian counterpart Kaja Kallas as his MPs prepared a vote of confidence in his leadership  [Alberto Pezzali/Pool via AP Photo]

‘Sigh of relief’

Leon Emirali, a former ministerial aide in the Johnson government, said that while there will be a “big sigh of relief” in Downing Street – there will be difficulties further down the line.

Emirali described Johnson’s win as “a razor-thin majority”.

“I do think there’s going to be an initial feeling of relief, initial feeling of they’ve gotten away with it. But, ultimately, the bigger problems are going to come further down the line,” Emirali told Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull, reporting from  Westminster.

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