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Primer: PM Johnson no-confidence vote (18:00-20:00BST/13:00-15:00EDT today) via @Newsquawk

Primer: UK PM Johnson no-confidence vote at 18:00-20:00BST/13:00-15:00EDT today – Link

Courtesy of my friends at Newsquawk

Overview

  • UK PM Johnson is expected to survive the no-confidence vote, according to current betting odds, which gives him a 12-month pass from being subject to such proceedings again.
  • However, surviving the vote is not always enough; previous PMs, including Johnson’s predecessor, were out of office shortly after such a vote, despite attracting the support of a Conservative majority.
  • To recap, at least 54 Conservative MPs had to write to the 1922 Chair for a vote to take place. To remove Johnson, a majority of 180 Tory MPs is required from a secret ballot.
  • Voting on the ballot occurs between 18:00-20:00BST/13:00-15:00EDT today, votes will be immediately counted though the announcement time is TBC; but likely within an hour or so of voting concluding.

Majority in favour of Johnson

  • If Johnson secures the support of 180/359 or more Conservative MPs then he will remain as PM and is exempt from being subject to a formal no-confidence vote for a one-year period.

  • Note, it is theoretically possible for the 1922 Committee to change this rule, though the mechanics/feasibility of them doing so is unclear.
  • However, precedent shows that PMs who survive confidence votes are sometimes irreparably weakened. With Johnson’s predecessor May, a prime example. Additionally, the divisions generated within the party – even though voting is via a secret ballot – can substantially complicate the intra-party politics, to the detriment of the existing cabinet/government.
  • As a side note, recent reports indicated that Johnson was mulling a cabinet reshuffle, following the May local elections, with indications that it would occur prior to the July 21st recess.

Majority against Johnson/he resigns

  • If Johnson does not secure the support of 180 or more Tory MPs, then he is no longer able to remain as leader of the party and by extension PM.

  • At this point, Johnson would essentially serve as a caretaker until a replacement is determined.
  • A process which commences with candidates putting their name(s) forwards, and requiring the backing of eight MPs to do so. Assuming there are more than two candidates, sequential rounds of voting occur with 5% of the party (18 MPs) initially needed to move forward, then 10% and so on.
  • Generally, during this stage, candidates will tactically drop out and give their endorsement to ‘rivals’ in exchange for a high-ranking Cabinet position, or similar.
  • Once the field whittles down to two candidates, an eventual winner is then determined by a postal ballot of all Conservative party members. A winner that then leads the Tory party and, by extension, becomes UK PM.
  • Note, any replacement would not be required to call a snap general election to cement their position, though they may be placed under pressure to do so; the next scheduled election is before December 2024.

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