A vote of confidence was called and PM Boris Johnson survived but it was close.
The weeks of will they, won’t they came to a head yesterday, Monday June 6, when Conservative party MPs voted on Boris Johnson’s leadership with the PM receiving 211 votes to 148.
The PM is now safe for 12 months from another vote of confidence but how stable is his position.
The 63 majority means that 58.8 percent still support Mr. Johnson but looking at the percentages it is the lowest since Margaret Thatcher in 1990 when the ‘Iron Lady’ received 54.8 percent support from MPs.
The difference between the two is Mrs. Thatcher was running against a named opponent, Michael Heseltine calling the contest but John Major eventually winning after Mrs. Thatcher withdrew after the first round.
It is the same with Mr. Major when in 1995 his leadership was challenged except he received 66.3 percent of the vote and went on to face Labour’s Tony Blair at the 1997 General Election.
The contest that we can draw a direct comparison to is the one that Theresa May faced in 2019 after the party changed the rules in 1997.
In that vote Mrs. May got 63.1 percent of her MPs support but resigned six months later after her authority and influence suffered as Brexit legislation struggled through Parliament.
Then Mr. Johnson took over and won a landslide 80 seat majority in the 2019 December General Election, completed Brexit and helped the country survive Covid-19 but was undermined by ‘Partygate’.
With this confidence vote passed many will see the ‘Partygate’ images, narrative, fines and Sue Gray Report as finished with.
The question now is after the public booing at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Service and the increasing cost of living crisis how does Mr. Johnson recover the party’s support and their electoral confidence.
The first test of this are the two by-elections on June 23 both triggered by unfavourable consequences.
Wakefield was triggered by the sexual assault conviction of former MP Imran Ahmad Khan while Tiverton and Honiton was triggered by Neil Parish resigning after admitting to watching pornography in the House of Commons.
The Conservatives are not favourites for either seat with Labour looking likely to take Wakefield and the Liberal Democrats in Tiverton and Honiton.
The last time two by-elections were lost on the same day by a party was November 1991, 30 years ago, though Major then recorded a General Election victory in 1992.
If they lose those seats and Mr. Johnson resigns he will have fallen short of Mrs. May’s stint in number 10 and be the third shortest Conservative post-war Prime Minister beating Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Sir Anthony Eden.
There is also the possibility of the Leader of the opposition, Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer, tabling a motion of confidence in the Government which if the Government loses would possibly trigger a General Election.
It is more likely the motion would be accepted coming from Labour rather than the Liberal Democrats or another party due to Labour being the second biggest Parliamentary party
It will be a difficult month for the PM as he tries to negotiate his way through the current and upcoming issues.