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Ex- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Britain’s Boris Johnson to face parliament after party’s revolt

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

London, June 8, 2022

Embattled British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would face parliament on Wednesday for the first time since a damaging revolt by his own party’s lawmakers on Monday.

Johnson’s backers can be expected to stage a noisy show of support when he steps up for his weekly Commons questions.

But behind the scenes, tensions are running high after 40 per cent of Conservative MPs refused to support him in the vote of confidence.

Although Johnson survived by 211 votes to 148, critics warned that he had been severely wounded by the scale of the rebellion and could be gone before the end of the year.

While it was the Sue Gray report into lockdown parties in Downing Street which prompted the vote, it also revealed deep unhappiness among MPs on different wings of the party across a range of issues.

They include promised legislation to override the Northern Ireland Protocol with the EU.

There are concerns over the high levels of tax and spending amid reports that rebel MPs could start staging “vote strikes’’ on policies they oppose.

After Johnson insisted on Tuesday it remained a “fundamental Conservative instinct” to cut taxes, Chancellor Rishi Sunak used a speech to the Onward think tank to reaffirm his intention to reduce taxes for business in the autumn.

It followed a call from former Brexit minister Lord Frost for previously announced rises to national insurance and corporation tax to be reversed.

They also warned that they were not Conservative and were undermining growth and prosperity.

His view that the government needed to move on to a tax-cutting agenda to shore up Johnson’s leadership was reportedly shared by some in the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph reported that Johnson’s allies were urging him to replace Sunak with former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Hunt who was runner-up to Johnson in the 2019 leadership election and was expected to stand again if there was another contest, infuriated some in the Cabinet.

He had announced he would be voting for change in the confidence vote.

However, the Telegraph said proponents of the idea argued that bringing back his rival into the Cabinet would help stabilise Johnson’s leadership.

His leadership healed rifts within the party while binding Hunt to the prime minister’s agenda.

Under current party rules, Johnson is safe now from another formal confidence vote, although the backbench 1922 Committee could potentially rewrite the regulations if there is renewed pressure for change.

At the moment, there would appear to be no appetite among the rebels for another immediate move against Johnson.

However, he has two tricky by-elections coming up in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and in Tiverton and Honiton, Devon, amid warnings, that they could fall to the Labour and the Liberal Democrats respectively.

Such a double defeat could be the catalyst for a fresh bout of soul-searching within the party, leading to renewed demands for change at the top.

In spite of the speculation, one Cabinet ally Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said he was pretty confident that Johnson would still lead them into the next general election.

“I’m pretty confident he will but lots of things happen in politics, I’m 100 per cent behind him,’’ he told Channel 4 News.

“As far as this particular Prime Minister is concerned, he has been written off dozens of times.

“He’s somebody who’s extremely resilient and is extremely focused on delivering what matters to people.’’

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