Boris Johnson wins confidence vote by 211 ballots to 148 – but PM still under pressure after big rebellion

The Prime Minister has won the confidence vote held by Conservative MPs today by 211 votes to 148

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Mr Johnson has endured a gruelling day in Westminster, facing the most serious threat to his leadership yet.

Chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady announced news of the no confidence vote earlier today, after at least 54 MPs sent in letters.

And, announcing the results this evening, he said: “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.

“And therefore, I can announce that the parliamentary party does have confidence in Boris Johnson.”

The PM's margin of victory
The PM's margin of victory

While the Prime Minister has won the ballot, he is not out of the woods yet as the margin of victory suggests Tory rebels could still question their leader's mandate.

It comes after Mr Johnson pleaded with Tory MPs to back his leadership rather than indulge in “pointless” internal warfare as he faced a crunch vote on his political future.

The Prime Minister wrote to Tory MPs and addressed them at a private meeting in Westminster two hours before voting began.

He reminded Conservatives that “under my leadership” the party had won its biggest electoral victory in 40 years.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his meeting with the Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas, today
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his meeting with the Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas, today
Sir Graham Brady announced the vote earlier today
Sir Graham Brady announced the vote earlier today

He warned them that Tory splits risk the “utter disaster” of Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour entering Downing Street, propped up by the SNP.

According to briefed extracts from his speech, he said: “The only way we will let that happen is if we were so foolish as to descend into some pointless fratricidal debate about the future of our party."

In his separate letter to Conservatives, Mr Johnson said: “Tonight we have the chance to end weeks of media speculation and take this country forward, immediately, as one united party.”

It is an opportunity to “draw a line” under the issue, he added.

The PM continued: “I do not believe our voters will lightly forgive us if – just when they need us most to be focusing on them – we appear once again to be focusing on Westminster politics."

Mr Johnson was informed early on Sunday afternoon that he would face the vote after more than 15 percent of the party’s MPs – 54 parliamentarians – had submitted formal letters, emails or messages saying they had lost confidence in him.

A steady stream of Tory MPs called publicly for the Prime Minister to stand down in the wake of Sue Gray’s report into breaches of the Covid regulations in No 10 and Whitehall.

But Tory concerns go far wider, covering the Prime Minister’s policies which have seen the tax burden reach the highest in 70 years and concerns about his approach to ethics and cultural issues.

To oust the Prime Minister, however, the rebels needed 180 MPs, and allies of Mr Johnson made clear he is determined to fight to stay on.