UK Politics: Will Boris Win No-Confidence Vote?

UK Politics

Key takeaways

Why is there a vote?

There have been 54 or more letters received by the 1922 Committee to trigger vote.

After the vote

It will be challenging for the Tory party no matter what the outcome is.

Leadership contender

Jeremy Hunt, Liz Truss could be in the running if there’s a leadership election.

Why does Boris face a no-confidence vote?

The Chairman of the 1922 Committee (a grouping of backbench Conservative MPs) announced Monday morning that he has received 54 or more letters seeking Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s departure. This was the number required to trigger a confidence vote in Boris Johnson’s leadership of the Conservative Party.

When is the vote?

The vote (a secret ballot of all Conservative MPs) will be held on Monday evening, between 6pm and 8pm.  The result will be announced shortly after the ballot closes. 


To ‘win’, Boris Johnson will need a simple majority of Conservative MPs to back him. If he does win, no further confidence vote could be held for a period of one year under the current rules.  If he loses, it would trigger a leadership contest.

What happened last time?

The last such confidence vote was in Theresa May’s leadership, held on 12 December 2018.  May won the vote by 200 votes to 117.  However, five months later, she announced she would resign as Conservative leader.

What happens if Boris wins the non-confidence vote?

At this stage, the odds of gaining the support of a majority of Tory MPs are in Johnson’s favour.  The so-called ‘payroll’ vote (i.e. government ministers, whips and parliamentary private secretaries) numbers around 150 Tory MPs. 


While not all of these are guaranteed to vote for Johnson, a significant number will. However, if significantly more than one-third of Tory MPs vote against Johnson, it would make his continuing leadership of the Party extremely challenging. It would also leave his MPs severely divided over the future direction of the Government.

Why now?

One of the factors that has been working in Boris Johnson’s favour is the lack of an organised campaign to trigger this confidence vote. Instead, letters calling for the vote have been submitted in dribs and drabs before the threshold was finally reached in the last few days. As such, the timing of the vote was not planned in advance.

If there’s a leadership election, who would be in the running?

One of the other reasons Boris Johnson has remained unchallenged for so long after the ‘partygate’ allegations first emerged is that there is no obvious alternative who would command sufficient support and enthusiasm across the Tory Party.


The only person who has publicly declared their leadership ambitions is the former leadership contender and former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt.  However, others thought likely to put themselves forward include: foreign secretary Liz Truss; chancellor Rishi Sunak; education secretary Nadhim Zahawi; chair of the commons foreign affairs committee Tom Tugendhat; and former junior trade minister Penny Mordaunt. 


Not every MP who puts themselves forward will believe they have a realistic prospect of winning: some will want to use the contest as a means to raise their profile and secure a potential cabinet position under the next leader.

Investment risks


The value of investments and any income will fluctuate (this may partly be the result of exchange rate fluctuations) and investors may not get back the full amount invested.



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