Hague warns Boris Johnson’s ‘narrow victory’ to force ‘exhausting road to further crises’

Boris Johnson wins confidence vote

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The former Conservative leader has suggested Boris Johnson should step down from his role despite sustaining a victory in Monday’s no-confidence vote. Lord Hague described the Prime Minister’s leadership as “untenable” as he noted more than a third of Conservative MP’s voted against their leader. He added that the vote was “devastating” for the Tory party as the result clearly exposes an internal “revolt” against the Prime Minister.

Writing for The Times, Lord Hague said: “While Johnson has survived the night, the damage done to his premiership is severe.”

Lord Hague continued: “Words have been said that cannot be retracted, reports published that cannot be erased, and votes have been cast that show a greater level of rejection than any Tory leader has ever endured and survived.”

The former Tory leader suggested the Prime Minister’s slim victory had not secured his safety as divisions within the party burned on, set to create further political disruption.

In comparison to former Prime Minister Theresa May, who also faced a vote of no confidence in 2018, Boris Johnson has received a greater proportion of opposition votes from MPs.

Mr Hague added: “Deep inside, he should recognise that, and turn his mind to getting out in a way that spares the party and country such agonies and uncertainties.”

While Lord Hague did not face a no-confidence vote while acting as leader of the Conservative party himself, he said he “would have regarded my position as completely untenable if more than a third of my MPs had ever voted against me”.

Over 140 Conservative MPs voted against Mr Johnson, with 211 votes of support securing a victory for the Prime Minister.

Lord Hague said: “The nature of this particular revolt makes it qualitatively as well as quantitatively devastating.”

“A fairly narrow victory for Boris Johnson is not the defeat of a rival faction, or the squashing of an alternative candidate, but rather the fending-off of a gathering feeling of hopelessness.”

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In his analysis of the no-confidence results, Lord Hague suggested the majority Mr Johnson had secured was not proportionally enough to defeat his ‘rivals’ in the party.

The vote was triggered by at least 54 Tory MPs who sent letters declaring their concerns about the Prime Minister’s leadership to the backbench 1922 Committee.

Lord Hague added: “It is less likely to prove a turning point than a way marker on an exhausting road to further crises of confidence.

“That is the worst possible result from the Conservative Party’s point of view.”

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He continued: “Logically, they should either reconcile themselves to Johnson and get behind him, or decisively eject him and move on to a new leader. It does not seem they have done either.”

Lord Hague suggested leadership of Mr Johnson would result in a general election loss for the Tory party as the population of the UK lacked “respect” for the Prime Minister.

Lord Hague added: “No individual in politics matters more than the health of our democracy.

“That health depends on voters having faith in the integrity of leaders even if they disagree with them, respect for how Government is conducted, and a competitive choice at a future election.

“The votes just cast show that a very large part of the Conservative Party cannot see Johnson providing that.”

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