Controversial politician manages to keep his post, but it won't make him any less trouble
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a vote of confidence in the House of Commons and kept his post. Even at the end of last week, the prospect of dismissal of the head of government, against whom a heap of claims had accumulated, seemed quite real. But, as many analysts admitted, Johnson nevertheless escaped an unenviable fate, which does not at all save him from further problems in office. We looked into the nature and consequences of the prime minister's “pyrrhic victory”.
Photo: Global Look Press
Even before the parliamentary vote on a vote of confidence, British experts, discussing the possible success of Boris Johnson in the fight for the post, noted that the prime minister could only win “by the skin of his teeth”. This difficult-to-translate English idiom, which goes back to an excerpt from the Bible (“I was left with only skin and bones, I was left with only skin around my teeth”, Job 19:20), in a general sense, means that the necessary goal is achieved to the limit of possibilities and &mdash ; no tangible acquisitions.
That's exactly what happened.
Boris Johnson was able to stay in the post — 211 parliamentarians voted for a vote of confidence in the prime minister and the cabinet headed by him, with the required minimum of 180 votes out of 359; the remaining 148 deputies voted against.
The head of government himself called the outcome of the procedure “a very good result for politics and for the country,” promising to focus on “really important things.” What Johnson meant by these and why it was impossible to concentrate on them before, he did not explain.
He also found the support of the prime ministers among prominent conservative party members. For example, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also said that “it's time to get back to work”, and about the person of the Prime Minister was categorical: “I'm glad that colleagues supported the Prime Minister. I support him 100%, — she wrote on the social network.
On the opposition flank, the enthusiasm for the outcome of the vote, as expected, was not shared. Thus, the leader of the Labor Party, Cyrus Starmer, reproached his Tory opponents for ignoring the aspirations of British society, preferring to consolidate around the prime minister. However, according to the leader of the Labor Party, nothing good awaits the Conservatives, and the very fact of voting on a vote of confidence is “the beginning of the end.” And in this case, Starmer's reasoning, despite the biting wording characteristic of Johnson's opponents, is quite logical.
Firstly, indeed, even the fact that the fate of the prime minister was decided through the procedure of a vote of confidence initiated by the Conservatives speaks of a deep crisis among the Tories. It would be much more logical to assume that the Laborites would come out against Johnson with a vote of no confidence (the essence of the procedure is the same, and the mechanics depend on who proposed the idea: the opposition or the ruling circles. — "MK") . They were in no hurry with such a step, realizing that it was doomed to failure, but the Tories did everything for them.
Second, the quantitative outcome of the vote confirmed that Johnson was under real threat. As early as the beginning of spring, analysts believed that the Tory Fronde would barely get the 54 applications from deputies needed to launch the vote procedure. As a result, there were more than 60 statements. According to preliminary estimates, only about a hundred parliamentarians should have voted against the prime minister, but there were much more of them, but the “reserve” supporters — 31 votes over the required 180, — doesn't look that impressive.
Thirdly, according to sources, some Tory MPs were trivially afraid of going against the majority and being accused of joining Labor rivals. Now the results of the vote can inspire them. And in this case, thirty parliamentarians who suddenly decided to take openly anti-Johnson positions do not look like something unrealistic.
Fourthly, the current situation obviously strengthens the positions of the Laborites. Those who chose the tactics of waiting — largely due to the lack of a bright figure, since Starmer, in terms of social significance, even falls short of his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, — they were able to fully highlight the underlying problems in the Tory environment. This is not only internal party opposition to Johnson, but also the absence of a “bench” in case he leaves. In this sense, Liz Truss's statement of “100% support” is more than indicative: it was the head of the Foreign Office who was predicted to be the possible successor to the disgraced prime minister, but her words confirmed that she hardly saw herself in this role. And even if she did, now her path to the premier post is ordered — after such a vivid solidarity with the toxic Johnson.
Fifthly, by-elections scheduled for June 23 in Wakefield, Tiverton and Honiton, where the Conservatives' chances of winning are ambiguous, are still playing against the premier. After losing the local vote in May, the Tories have already stepped up their criticism of Johnson, and the June fiasco could be the proverbial “final straw.” In fact, even before the vote was considered, the Conservatives, according to sources, wanted to postpone the procedure until the end of the month. Their haste, on the one hand, can be regarded as a gross tactical error. On the other hand, the expectation to play ahead of the curve is also understandable. If Johnson lost now, even a positive outcome on June 23 theoretically could no longer save him: to “restore confidence”; the prime minister is given 14 days, it is impossible to miss the election date.
Finally, all these factors give Labor hope that they themselves will now be able to initiate a vote of no confidence: if they are sure that there is an adequate number of disgruntled conservatives . And the hesitant Tories will now examine every step of the head of government under a microscope.
Johnson, even if he holds on until the end of his formal premier term, the second clearly does not shine — and after all, the politician planned to put forward his candidacy in the elections in two years. The Conservatives, with their battered reputation, will have to work hard to find a worthy competitor to Labor, who, apparently, intends to end more than a decade of Tory dominance. In any case, the same Starmer has enough time until 2024 to gain the necessary political weight.