Andrew Neil issues warning to Boris: PM is in trouble even if he WINS vote

Radio 4: Justin Webb makes Javid squirm over Boris defence

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Conservative Party figures asked their colleagues to hold off on submitting letters of no confidence against the Prime Minister during the Jubilee celebrations, as the nation came together to celebrate The Queen’s 70 years on the throne. Long before the buzz was given the opportunity to wear off, the threshold of letters required to trigger a confidence vote was exceeded. This will be held later today.

The Spectator Chairman stressed that questions over Mr Johnson’s leadership will not disappear even if he wins the vote.

He highlighted the rule that a Tory leader who survives a confidence is safe from facing another for a year.

But this, he stressed, was not written in stone.

Mr Neil wrote in a post on Twitter: “In practice these rules are flexible and permeable.”

He added this was particularly true “if he only limps over the winning line”.

Journalist Patrick O’Flynn has also noted that if 100 Tory MPs vote against the Mr Johnson, which he said could “easily” be the case, this would hold a “symbolic significance that the Prime Minister will find hard to dispute”.

With this, even following a confidence vote victory, the looming threat of a further leadership challenge would likely make itself clear.

Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the Tory 1922 Committee group to which letters of no confidence have been sent, announced this morning that “in accordance with the rules, a ballot will be held
between 6pm and 8pm today”.

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He added: “The votes will be counted immediately afterwards. An announcement will be made at a time to be advised.”

Sir Graham also echoed the warning issued by Mr Neil about the possibility of another leadership challenge further down the line.

He, quoted in the Guardian, said: “Technically it’s possible for rules to be changed but the rule at present is there would be a period of grace.”

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Tory HQ has this morning been out in force, making efforts to persuade MPs to back the Prime Minister.

Tom Harwood of GB News posted a “fact sheet” online which has been sent to Tory MPs.

This suggests Mr Johnson’s office had already prepared for a vote and simply had to pull the levers to enact its response.

The “fact sheet” insisted it was time to “put the distraction of the past months behind us” and instead focus on matters including the cost of living crisis and the war in Ukraine.

Mr Neil, however, described this as less of a “fact sheet” in Mr Johnson’s favour than “a typographical dog’s breakfast”.

Tory rebels need to garner 180 votes against the Prime Minister if they are to succeed in ousting him, for now.

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