Boris Johnson wins no-confidence vote days after being ousted


Boris Johnson has easily survived a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons, but the prime minister used a swansong debate to claim “the deep state” was plotting with Labour to reverse Brexit.

Tory MPs who mobilised this month to oust Johnson on Monday night rallied behind his caretaker government, defeating Labour in a confidence vote by 349 votes to 238, a majority of 111.

Having successfully removed Johnson as Tory leader, Conservative MPs were in no mood to grant Labour a victory over the outgoing prime minister in what is likely to be his final set-piece Commons debate.

Johnson launched a defiant valedictory defence of his record as UK prime minister, claiming he “got the big calls right” and had led “one of the most dynamic governments of modern times”.

The prime minister said he had delivered Brexit, rolled out a successful Covid-19 vaccine programme, tackled climate change and “successfully managed the economy”.

He also claimed that Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader, was involved in a plot with “the deep state” and that they intended “to haul us back into alignment with the EU as a prelude to our eventual return”.

Johnson yielded to pressure from the opposition Labour party to grant parliamentary time for a no-confidence vote in his government on Monday, having initially tried to block the move.

When Johnson sat down there were cries of “more” from loyal MPs, but there were many empty seats on the Tory benches. Earlier this month a rebellion by ministers and MPs forced him to quit as leader of his party.

The prime minister’s performance made use of the flights of rhetoric that Conservative MPs may come to miss: none of Johnson’s would-be successors match his flair for language.

Michael Fabricant, a Johnson loyalist, said: “Our party is making the same mistake as the Labour party made when it knifed Tony Blair.” Johnson will make his final appearance at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday.

But Starmer said Johnson should leave Downing Street immediately, rather than carrying on as interim leader until September 5.

He said that unlike David Cameron or Theresa May, who also carried on in Downing Street while a Tory leadership contest took place, Johnson had been “forced out of office in disgrace”.

Starmer said the Conservatives resembled a struggling Premier League football club, “changing managers as they slide towards relegation”. And he claimed that Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor and bookmakers’ favourite to succeed Johnson, had “broken” the economy and helped prop up the prime minister in office.

Starmer was heckled by Johnson’s supporters, led by culture secretary Nadine Dorries, who repeatedly shouted “boring” at the Labour leader.

Although Johnson’s response to the no-confidence motion was typically defiant, Labour MP Kevin Brennan said: “Only an unconventional man would want to have the opportunity to speak at their own funeral.”


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