The keys to the motion of censure against Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnsonfaces this Monday a motion of internal censure on his leadership of the Conservative Party that can force him to leave Downing Street and cede the head of government to the winner of a primaries of his formation. If the motion fails, however, Johnson will remain in office and will be immune for a year from any further Tory revolt against him.

Why is the motion called?

The party scandal during the pandemic has eroded Johnson’s public image and plummeted conservatives in the polls, while at the same time suffering from the attrition of the cost of living crisis.

“Tory” deputies from all factions of the party, from the hard “Brexitera” wing to the more moderate, have expressed in recent weeks a growing discontent with his own prime minister.

Today it has been confirmed that the threshold of 54 deputies has been exceeded (15% of the parliamentary group) who have requested in writing a vote on Johnson’s leadership, so, according to party rules, it has been called from 5:00 p.m. GMT.

How does voting work?

The 359 Conservative MPs They will vote if they want Johnson to continue leading the party and the government. A simple majority of 180 ballotsor 50% of the votes, will be enough to decide the future of the prime minister.

The vote is anonymousso ministers and senior executives can oppose Johnson without his name coming out, making it difficult to predict the level of support the prime minister may command.

Around 160 of the “Tories” parliamentarians hold a government position that they would put at risk in the face of a change of leader, something that experts consider a possible advantage for Johnson.

If the head of government wins the vote, a meeting could not be called. new motion against him in twelve months.

The last time an internal censure motion was held, in December 2018, the then Prime Minister, Theresa Maysurvived the vote, although he resigned months later under pressure from his own co-religionists in the midst of the turbulent process to negotiate a Brexit agreement.

What happens if Johnson loses?

If the votes against Johnson add up to 180 or more, will begin the process to hold a primary in which the new leader of the Conservative Party will be elected. Although there is no written rule in this regard, the winner usually assumes the head of government without an election being called.

The prime minister would probably stay in office until the Queen isabel II appoint the next Downing Street tenant, but could also decide to resign immediately. In that case, the cabinet would appoint an interim chief, a responsibility that would presumably fall to the deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab.

In 2019, Theresa May continued in office after resigning until there was a successor, the same as David Cameron did in 2016.

How would a new prime minister be chosen?

A conservative primary usually last for about two months. In a first phase, candidates who wish to do so can apply to succeed the prime minister.

The Conservative MPs then vote on various rounds. In the first two votes, those who do not exceed a certain threshold of ballots are eliminated. In the following, the candidate with the fewest votes is left out.

Only two candidates advance to the last phase of the primaries, in which the party’s affiliates choose the new leader.

Who could succeed Johnson?

The Minister of Economy, Rishi Sunakhas for months topped the odds as possible successor to Johnson. However, his options seem to have narrowed dramatically after he was embroiled in a scandal in April surrounding his wife, a wealthy heiress to a business empire in India who used legal tricks to avoid paying millions in UK tax.

The Foreign Minister, Liz Trusshas also positioned himself to run for leadership and could count on the support of the hard wing of the formation, although today he already announced that he supports Johnson “100%” in the motion.

In recent weeks, the moderate Jeremy Huntwho already lost a primary against Johnson in 2019, has reappeared in speculation about possible candidates.