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The countdown to Boris Johnson: How many deputies are asking for his resignation and how they can kick him out | International

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The internal mechanism for the Conservative Party to get rid of its prime minister has something arcane and mysterious, but when it starts, it unleashes a political earthquake of the first magnitude. Boris Johnson is currently in limbo. So far, only half a dozen Conservative deputies have publicly called for their resignation, but no one is able to venture how many more may do so in the coming days, and if they will be enough to launch the impeachment mechanism.

After his half-apologies in the House of Commons, his admission that he was at the banned Downing Street garden party on May 20, 2020, and his flimsy excuse that he thought it was a business meeting, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has no choice but to grit his teeth and wait for the outcome of two events over which he has no control. In the first place, the permanent deputy secretary of the Cabinet Office, Sue Gray, a senior official with a reputation for being tough and irreproachable, must complete the internal investigation that the Government itself has entrusted to her, and which covers up to half a dozen parties in ministerial dependencies . Including the one that Johnson attended, and that carries the most danger for his political future. The pressure of the moment will accelerate Gray’s work, which should be completed by the end of next week. It is practically impossible for his report to have an exculpatory tone, given the accumulation of aired evidence and, above all, the degree of indignation prevailing among citizens, the opposition and the Conservative Party deputies themselves. But the nuances that it incorporates, or to what extent it reaches to point out those responsible, will be very important. If he gives Johnson’s excuse that he thought he was on his way to a — clearly informal — meeting of his staff some fuel, the prime minister might get some oxygen back. Especially if, at the same time, the heads of some heavyweights in his Downing Street team roll and, more importantly, the Metropolitan Police are satisfied with the conclusions and decide to park the case, in line with their rule. of not retrospectively investigating violations of social distancing rules. “Sue Gray’s report can be very harsh against Johnson, but if the police decide not to use it, and manage to get the majority of deputies to stick by her side despite all the problems”, ventures Paul Goodman, former parliamentarian and director of the ConservativeHome website, “The government may end up recovering a certain degree of normality.”

The 1922 Committee

At the moment, that hypothesis sounds excessively optimistic for a prime minister who is going through his most delicate crisis since he arrived at Downing Street two years ago, and whom the conservative media in the United Kingdom consider practically finished. The spirits within the Conservative Party are very mixed, but there is still no faction leading the mutiny -as happened with Theresa May or Margaret Thatcher- nor an alternative rival that begins to stand out. Up to 26 parliamentarians tories have publicly called, with greater or lesser intensity, for Johnson’s resignation. But the number, aired insistently in the last hours, has a certain trap. Of all of them, 20 are deputies of the Autonomous Parliament of Scotland (known as Holyrood, for the palace where it is located). To understand it well, they would come to be something similar to Spanish deputies of the PP in the Basque or Catalan Parliament. Led by Douglas Ross, their current leader, who was the first to demand the Prime Minister’s resignation after speaking with him on the phone on Wednesday, they have an urgent need, if they want to get out of the marginality they inhabit in Scottish politics, to put distance between them and a figure like Johnson, who has a high toxic component in that autonomous territory and has been key to fueling the independence discourse. At the moment of truth, none of these autonomous deputies could vote in a hypothetical motion of internal censure to overthrow Johnson. Only Ross can do it, because he is also a national parliamentarian.

That is why, in this direction, the declarations of deputies from Westminster such as William Wragg, Roger Gale, Julian Sturdy or Caroline Nokes are much more relevant. To their own personal anger or disappointment with Johnson, they add the decisive factor for any politician to choose to withdraw their support: “The message I am receiving from the voters in my constituency is that they feel disappointed and betrayed, after the immense effort that went into for them to obey the rules during the pandemic, ”Nokes explained on the ITV television network.

Of all of them, only two have openly admitted that they have already sent a letter of confidence (whose translation, paradoxically, would be that of a “letter of withdrawal of confidence”) to the director of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady. This body, which was actually founded a year later than its name indicates, brings together conservative deputies called backbenchers (literally, those in the back seats: those who do not hold a position in the government structure and are freer to decide their vote). Its leadership, according to the statute of the Conservative Party, is empowered to organize a motion of internal censure against the leader and prime minister of the moment. The mechanism is as follows: 15% of the deputies backbenchers You must send the committee a letter of withdrawal of confidence for the motion to be voted on automatically. Currently, with 360 Conservative MPs, that means 54 letters. As they arrive, the number is kept secret. That is why the climate, in the face of an internal rebellion, has something mysterious about it. No one is able to specify if the accumulated cards do not exceed a handful or are already counted by dozens.

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In the current situation, many Conservative MPs will have chosen to temper their anger and hold back any decision, while waiting for Susan Gray’s report. But although it has some positive aspect for Johnson, it will hardly be able to serve to return the waters to their channel if the irritation of the citizenry continues. The latest YouGov poll, earlier in the week, shows that 56% of Britons want Johnson gone. If the figure of 54 letters is finally reached, the vote could be carried out at breakneck speed. In the case of former Prime Minister Theresa May, the announcement was made on December 12, 2018. The group of Eurosceptics tried to bring her down to stop her Brexit negotiation with the EU, too condescending for them. That same day, starting at nine o’clock at night, the parliamentary group was voting. 200 MPs backed May; 117 voted against him. In 1990, with somewhat different rules, Margaret Thatcher also survived, 204 votes to 152, an internal challenge. In both cases, the two prime ministers threw in the towel soon after seeing the strong internal opposition they faced. Despite the fact that, according to the statutes, a new internal censure motion cannot be held again in the following 12 months. That is why many critics of Johnson include in their calculations the possibility that the prime minister could come out of the coup stronger, because what they clearly rule out is that he resign of his own free will.

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The internal mechanism for the Conservative Party to get rid of its prime minister has something arcane and mysterious, but when it starts, it unleashes a political earthquake of the first magnitude. Boris Johnson is currently in limbo. So far, only half a dozen Conservative deputies have publicly called for their resignation, but no one is able to venture how many more may do so in the coming days, and if they will be enough to launch the impeachment mechanism.

After his half-apologies in the House of Commons, his admission that he was at the banned Downing Street garden party on May 20, 2020, and his flimsy excuse that he thought it was a business meeting, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has no choice but to grit his teeth and wait for the outcome of two events over which he has no control. In the first place, the permanent deputy secretary of the Cabinet Office, Sue Gray, a senior official with a reputation for being tough and irreproachable, must complete the internal investigation that the Government itself has entrusted to her, and which covers up to half a dozen parties in ministerial dependencies . Including the one that Johnson attended, and that carries the most danger for his political future. The pressure of the moment will accelerate Gray’s work, which should be completed by the end of next week. It is practically impossible for his report to have an exculpatory tone, given the accumulation of aired evidence and, above all, the degree of indignation prevailing among citizens, the opposition and the Conservative Party deputies themselves. But the nuances that it incorporates, or to what extent it reaches to point out those responsible, will be very important. If he gives Johnson’s excuse that he thought he was on his way to a — clearly informal — meeting of his staff some fuel, the prime minister might get some oxygen back. Especially if, at the same time, the heads of some heavyweights in his Downing Street team roll and, more importantly, the Metropolitan Police are satisfied with the conclusions and decide to park the case, in line with their rule. of not retrospectively investigating violations of social distancing rules. “Sue Gray’s report can be very harsh against Johnson, but if the police decide not to use it, and manage to get the majority of deputies to stick by her side despite all the problems”, ventures Paul Goodman, former parliamentarian and director of the ConservativeHome website, “The government may end up recovering a certain degree of normality.”

The 1922 Committee

At the moment, that hypothesis sounds excessively optimistic for a prime minister who is going through his most delicate crisis since he arrived at Downing Street two years ago, and whom the conservative media in the United Kingdom consider practically finished. The spirits within the Conservative Party are very mixed, but there is still no faction leading the mutiny -as happened with Theresa May or Margaret Thatcher- nor an alternative rival that begins to stand out. Up to 26 parliamentarians tories have publicly called, with greater or lesser intensity, for Johnson’s resignation. But the number, aired insistently in the last hours, has a certain trap. Of all of them, 20 are deputies of the Autonomous Parliament of Scotland (known as Holyrood, for the palace where it is located). To understand it well, they would come to be something similar to Spanish deputies of the PP in the Basque or Catalan Parliament. Led by Douglas Ross, their current leader, who was the first to demand the Prime Minister’s resignation after speaking with him on the phone on Wednesday, they have an urgent need, if they want to get out of the marginality they inhabit in Scottish politics, to put distance between them and a figure like Johnson, who has a high toxic component in that autonomous territory and has been key to fueling the independence discourse. At the moment of truth, none of these autonomous deputies could vote in a hypothetical motion of internal censure to overthrow Johnson. Only Ross can do it, because he is also a national parliamentarian.

That is why, in this direction, the declarations of deputies from Westminster such as William Wragg, Roger Gale, Julian Sturdy or Caroline Nokes are much more relevant. To their own personal anger or disappointment with Johnson, they add the decisive factor for any politician to choose to withdraw their support: “The message I am receiving from the voters in my constituency is that they feel disappointed and betrayed, after the immense effort that went into for them to obey the rules during the pandemic, ”Nokes explained on the ITV television network.

Of all of them, only two have openly admitted that they have already sent a letter of confidence (whose translation, paradoxically, would be that of a “letter of withdrawal of confidence”) to the director of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady. This body, which was actually founded a year later than its name indicates, brings together conservative deputies called backbenchers (literally, those in the back seats: those who do not hold a position in the government structure and are freer to decide their vote). Its leadership, according to the statute of the Conservative Party, is empowered to organize a motion of internal censure against the leader and prime minister of the moment. The mechanism is as follows: 15% of the deputies backbenchers You must send the committee a letter of withdrawal of confidence for the motion to be voted on automatically. Currently, with 360 Conservative MPs, that means 54 letters. As they arrive, the number is kept secret. That is why the climate, in the face of an internal rebellion, has something mysterious about it. No one is able to specify if the accumulated cards do not exceed a handful or are already counted by dozens.

Join MRT to follow all the news and read without limits.

subscribe

In the current situation, many Conservative MPs will have chosen to temper their anger and hold back any decision, while waiting for Susan Gray’s report. But although it has some positive aspect for Johnson, it will hardly be able to serve to return the waters to their channel if the irritation of the citizenry continues. The latest YouGov poll, earlier in the week, shows that 56% of Britons want Johnson gone. If the figure of 54 letters is finally reached, the vote could be carried out at breakneck speed. In the case of former Prime Minister Theresa May, the announcement was made on December 12, 2018. The group of Eurosceptics tried to bring her down to stop her Brexit negotiation with the EU, too condescending for them. That same day, starting at nine o’clock at night, the parliamentary group was voting. 200 MPs backed May; 117 voted against him. In 1990, with somewhat different rules, Margaret Thatcher also survived, 204 votes to 152, an internal challenge. In both cases, the two prime ministers threw in the towel soon after seeing the strong internal opposition they faced. Despite the fact that, according to the statutes, a new internal censure motion cannot be held again in the following 12 months. That is why many critics of Johnson include in their calculations the possibility that the prime minister could come out of the coup stronger, because what they clearly rule out is that he resign of his own free will.

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