Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab has suggested that the debate over Boris Johnson’s leadership is “over” following the latter’s victory in yesterday night’s vote of no confidence.
211 MPs (around 58%) voted for Johnson to remain at the helm. 148 (around 41%) voted against him.
Raab told Sky News: “But they didn’t. You ask fair questions when you come on this show. I want to answer those questions as best I can. But, to be honest, my whole point would be all that speculation, all that hypothetical debate. That is over now. We had that vote, the Prime Minister won with 59 per cent and we move forward.”
2018: Theresa May won the vote of no confidence with support from 63% of her own MPs.
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May announced in June 2019 that she would resign as PM, as the threat to a new no confidence vote was looming in the months ahead.
Quizzed over why he thought 41 per cent of Conservative MPs voted against their leadership, the justice secretary reiterated a line taken by both Wales secretary Simon Hart and the PM himself last night, stating: “The prime minister won it with 59 per cent, that is actually more than he got in terms of support when he was elected leader of the Conservative Party
“…The prime minister won it clearly, he won it by 63 votes… and now the most important thing I think is to respect that result and to move forward.
“We have got two years to deliver and demonstrate we are delivering and I think we are the ones with a plan,” he went on.
In just over a week, the Conservatives will face two By-Elections in Wakefield, Tiverton and Honiton.
These seats are likely to see poor results which could prompt more complaints from Conservative MPs. This could lay the foundation for possible 1922 rule changes as well as a further no confidence vote.
However Raab attempted to reduce expectations, highlighting that “by-elections are always challenging”.
“We won Hartlepool little more than a year ago, but by-elections aren’t the acid test. The general election is the acid test. We have two years to deliver sustainable long-term results. This is what people will remember.
“People don’t remember, if we are honest, and I think a lot of the pollsters would say this, they don’t remember by-elections come the general election.”
Meanwhile Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has been campaigning for a hold a vote of no confidence on the prime minister’s leadership by all MPs, though it is as of yet unclear how this would take place.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner told BBC One’s Breakfast programme that her party would “consider all options” when quizzed over Davey’s plans today, adding that she thought Johnson was “t once again making it very difficult to deal with the issues that people face today.
Many MPs have voiced concerns about rule breaking at Downing Street during lockdown restrictions, and criticised the PM.
Boris Johnson and Rishi Unak were both fined by the Metropolitan Police in April for violating Covid rules.
The House of Commons privileges panel continues to investigate Johnson over his comments about the Partygate affair.
Last month’s long-awaited publication of Sue Gray’s report into lockdown gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall described events during which some staff got so drunk they vomited, wine was spilt on walls and aides brawled.