A no-confidence vote in Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be held later Monday that could oust him as the country’s leader.
The vote, which will take place in person in the House of Commons beginning at 6 pm local time (1 pm Eastern Time), was called by rebel lawmakers from Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party.
If Johnson loses the vote among the 359 Conservative lawmakers, he will be replaced as Conservative leader and prime minister by someone else from his party. If he wins, he can’t face another challenge for a year. Britain elects a party, not a leader.
The ballot was triggered in part 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.
He needs a straightforward majority – 180 – to survive the vote. If Johnson loses the vote he must stand down. His predecessor, Theresa May, survived a no-confidence vote in 2018 but she resigned six months later.
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.
Johnson has said he takes “full responsibility” but also insisted it was now time to “move on” and focus on Britain’s battered economy and the war in Ukraine.
But a growing number of Conservatives feel that Johnson, the charismatic leader who won them a huge parliamentary majority in 2019, is now a liability.
If Johnson is ousted it would spark a Conservative leadership contest, in which several prominent government ministers are likely to run.
Conservative lawmaker Roger Gale, a Johnson critic, said “we have some very good alternatives to the prime minister so we’re not short of choice.
“Any single one of those people in my view would make a better prime minister than the one that we’ve got at the moment,” he told the BBC.
Discontent over Johnson’s leadership appears to have come to a head over a parliamentary break that coincided with celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. For many, the four-day long weekend was a chance to relax but there was no respite for Johnson, who was booed by some onlookers as he arrived for a service in the queen’s honor at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Friday.