© Reuters. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts alongside Estonian Prime Minister during their meeting at 10 Downing Street, London, UK 6 June 2022. Alberto Pezzali / Pool via REUTERS
By William James
LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday sought to bolster his leadership on Tuesday by setting out a series of new policies for ministers after he barely survived a vote of confidence revealing the scale of the threat to his position.
Johnson won the vote among Conservative party lawmakers on Monday night by 211 votes to 148 – enough to avoid having to resign, but a larger-than-expected uprising in his party that leaves him wounded and struggling to regain the trust of his colleagues and the broad public.
His first challenge is to convince his most senior ally, some of whom would probably have lined up to replace him if he had been forced out, that he would be able to move on from questions of his leadership.
Johnson thanked the cabinet ministers for their support as he called on them to implement reforms to lower costs for consumers, businesses and government.
“We are now able to draw a line under the topics that our opponents want to talk about, and we are able to go on talking about what I think the people of this country want us to do. to, “Johnson said to his cabinet in television remarks.
Lawmakers in Johnson’s party called the vote of confidence after months of scandal over shutdown-breaking parties at the heart of the government and criticism of his response to an inflation-driven rise in the cost of living.
It’s about Johnson’s integrity. His opponents accuse him of being a common liar, and he faces an inquiry into whether he is misleading Parliament in his explanations of the series of parties held in Downing Street – his office and residence – while the British followed strict lockdown rules during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Police have fined him for such a gathering.
Johnson’s office said he would use the cabinet meeting to set out his vision for the coming weeks, including new policies to reduce childcare costs and help more people buy their own homes.
The prime minister is planning a speech on housing this week, he will give a speech on the economy next week, and the government plans to send a first group of asylum seekers to Rwanda on June 14 as he seeks to move on from the divisive vote of confidence. conservative party source.
But William Hague, who led the Conservative party from 1997 to 2001, said Johnson’s presidency was no longer “viable” and that he should “turn to get out” to give the party a fresh start.
The front pages of British newspapers did not offer much that the vote, as Johnson described it in the wake of Monday, was a decisive result that allows him to focus on his political priorities again.
The Daily Telegraph called the result a “hollow victory. The Sun tabloid declared” PM survives … Just “
The Times leadership column called the result a “pyrrhic victory”, saying the narrow victory left Johnson’s political authority badly dented and his party even more divided.
“If Mr Johnson is to avoid leading the Tories (conservatives) to a disastrous defeat in the next election, he will have to show a degree of grip and focus that has been largely absent until now in his presidency,” it said.
The rules of the Conservative Party mean that he is sure of another vote of confidence in the next 12 months, but these rules can technically be changed if there is sufficient political will to do so.
In 2018, Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May won a larger percentage of a similar confidence vote, only to retire six months later.