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Prime Minister survives vote of no confidence

Boris Johnson has survived a vote of no confidence after Conservative MPs backed him to stay as leader in a secret ballot.

A vote was triggered when party chiefs confirmed that more than 54 MPs had written to formally request that a ballot take place.

Boris Johnson survives vote of no confidence
Boris Johnson survives vote of no confidence

In total 211 MPs backed Mr Johnson while 148 said they don't have confidence in the PM. This means he has a majority of just 63 votes.

Under party rules, 180 MPs would have needed to back the vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister for there to be a leadership contest.

However, that threshold was not reached.

Mr Johnson described the result as "very good for politics and the country" and said it was "convincing and decisive" and means "as a government we can move on and focus on the stuff that really matters."

He continued: "I'm grateful to colleagues for the support they have given me and I understand that what we need to do now is come together as a party and that is what we can now do.

"It gives us the opportunity to put behind us all the stuff the media have wanted to focus on for a very long time and do our job and focus on the stuff the public actually want us to talk about which is what we are doing to help the people in this country and all the things we are doing to take this country forward.

"We can focus on what we're doing to help people with the cost of living, making streets safer by putting more police out and continue to level up and strengthen our economy."

Kent MPs mainly supported the PM, with those supporting him saying that he should be backed.

Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti was the first to say he had voted to back Boris, tweeting: "Today I voted to support the PM @BorisJohnson in the vote of confidence as I previously outlined in my interview on @BBCNews Politics Live nearly two weeks ago."

However, a vocal rebel to the Prime Minister, Sir Roger Gale, was said to be the fourth in line to vote against Mr Johnson.

Speaking to Sky News, the North Thanet MP, who was among the first to submit a letter requesting a vote of no confidence, said: "Over a third of the parliamentary party has expressed no confidence in the Prime Minister.

"I don't believe he should take the party into the next general election and there are other elephant traps down the road - two by-elections coming up and the privileges committee in the autumn.

"I have no campaign to unseat him. I have a personal view that Mr Johnson is not the fit and proper person to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom but I've been elected as a Member of Parliament so I will support legislation but don't expect me to support this Prime Minister - I cannot do that.

"I was elected to say what I think and I have to continue to say what I think."

Boris Johnson has won the support of his MPs
Boris Johnson has won the support of his MPs

At 11pm on Monday night, Ashford MP Damian Green confirmed he had voted against the PM.

"I have been contacted by hundreds of constituents over the Downing Street parties and the Prime Minister’s behaviour. The vast majority of these, many of them Conservative supporters in the past, were hostile to him," he said.

"I have thought throughout the process that it was best to wait for all the evidence to emerge before reaching a conclusion.

"Once that evidence was produced, it was necessary to strike the right balance between the genuine achievements of the government and the failure to maintain proper standards of behaviour during the lockdowns.

"Today’s vote was the right time to reach that conclusion, and with great sadness I voted that I had no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Ashford MP Damian Green voted against the PM
Ashford MP Damian Green voted against the PM

"The result of the vote means that the Prime Minister will continue in office, so I will continue to support the government, and argue the case for the people of Ashford, as I have always done."

Earlier today, Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservative 1922 committee, revealed that he had on Sunday notified the Prime Minister that enough MPs had submitted letters requesting a vote of no confidence take place.

The PM has faced considerable criticism over the 'partygate' saga, with complaints that he misled Parliament about social gatherings that took place in Downing Street in spite of a Covid-19 lockdown on such events.

Cabinet ministers rallied behind the Prime Minister during what amounted to a day-long campaign, saying he should remain in the role.

But Jeremy Hunt - his leadership rival in the contest to succeed Theresa May - said he would not be backing Boris.

'With great sadness I voted that I had no confidence in the Prime Minister'

Earlier today, Folkestone MP Damian Collins also announced his support for the Prime Minister saying voters gave him an 'overwhelming' majority two years ago to lead the country.

When Theresa May faced a vote of no confidence in 2019, 133 MPs voted against her meaning Mr Johnson has performed far worse than the former Prime Minister.

Speaking on Twitter earlier today, Faversham and Mid Kent MP Helen Whately said: "I will be voting in support of @BorisJohnson this afternoon.

"He steered us through the pandemic, set us on the path to recovery and stood up to Putin in Ukraine.

"In 2019 he won a mandate to lead our country. We live in tough times & now is the time to get on with the job."

Analysis from Paul Francis

The removal men can stand down: Boris Johnson won’t be handing over the keys to Downing Street just yet. He has survived a vote of no confidence but with 148 rebelling he emerges a wounded figure.

His aides had briefed that he would secure a comfortable majority but the margin of victory has left the PM wounded.

Just how serious that wound is seems to depend on how you interpret the figures. The vote means that 41% of the party's MPs do not support him.

The Boris camp argued that it was time to draw a line under divisions in the party and ‘move on’.

Well moving on may, on the basis of tonight’s result, be more challenging than anticipated.

Kent MPs largely backed the PM in public - at least those who were willing to declare their hands - with the notable exception of North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale.

And in doing so, they may expect something in return.

But the result has not drawn a line, and it has not given him a renewed mandate.

Choppy waters lie ahead.

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