LONDON – Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a no-confidence vote Monday called by rebel lawmakers from his ruling Conservative party who wanted to oust him as leader in part over allegations of drunken government parties held during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Johnson’s critics failed to oust him in a 211-to-148 simple majority vote, a victory that means he can’t be challenged by his party for at least another year. However, the fact that the vote happened at all leaves him politically wounded. Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, survived a no-confidence vote in 2018 but resigned six months later.
The ballot was called by Conservative lawmakers concerned over a collapse in Johnson’s poll ratings following revelations of parties in Downing Street and other government buildings during coronavirus lockdowns. Some Conservative lawmakers have found it difficult to defend.
Late last month, an investigator’s report on what has become known as “partygate” slammed a culture of alcohol-fueled parties and rule-breaking inside Johnson’s No. 10 Downing St. office at a time when pandemic restrictions prevented U.K. residents from socializing or even visiting dying relatives.
A growing number of Conservatives feel that Johnson – the charismatic if gaffe-prone leader who won them a huge parliamentary majority in 2019 – is now a liability.
All 359 Conservative lawmakers took part in the vote and the 148 who voted against Johnson – 40% – is a higher number than failed to back May in her confidence vote.
Explainer: What we know about Boris Johnson and Britain’s ‘partygate’ scandal
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson is like Trump. Only he isn’t.
See all the photos: Platinum Jubilee celebrates Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign