Weakened by this vote which saw more than 40% of his majority try to oust him on Monday, the head of the Conservative government hopes to turn the page on “partygate” and maintain himself, claiming to want to focus on the priorities of the British, strangled by inflation at its highest for forty years.
“We are facing global price pressures caused by the lingering effects of Covid and the shock of (Vladimir) Putin’s aggression in Ukraine”, but “we will get through this”, Boris Johnson said on Thursday during a a speech in Blackpool (north-west) of England).
Recalling the government’s latest measures in the face of inflation, which has now reached 9%, including the recent announcement of a 15 billion pound (17 billion euro) household aid plan, the Conservative leader promised to support the British “as long as necessary”, repeating that the government was “on their side”.
In particular, he announced new aid intended to help the British access the “dream” of becoming homeowners, which has become “inaccessible” in particular because of the exponential cost of the mortgages he wants to review.
The Prime Minister wants in particular to extend the possibility – set up under Margaret Thatcher – given to tenants of social housing to become owners. Housing assistance associations such as Shelter are concerned, however, about seeing a drastic reduction in the number of accessible affordable rental housing units, already considered to be in short supply.
As well as housing, the government is working on measures to reduce the prices of food, transport and childcare costs, Boris Johnson said. He repeated that he wanted to lower taxes despite the increase in recent months, which horrifies a large part of the Conservative electorate.
– Weakened authority –
His speech comes as the prices of fuel at the pump and food products are soaring and energy bills are set to rise again massively in the fall. The average price of a full tank exceeded Thursday the threshold of 100 pounds (117 euros), unheard of.
With these new announcements, the Prime Minister, who has become very unpopular two and a half years after his electoral triumph, wants to turn the page after the vote of no confidence which targeted him because of the “partygate”, these parties in Downing Street during the confinements anti-Covid which earned him a fine – a first for a Prime Minister in office in the United Kingdom.
On Wednesday, as he faced MPs for the first time since the vote, the Tory leader appeared to be succeeding — at least temporarily — in rallying his troops in the face of attacks from the Labor opposition.
But even if he cannot be targeted by another motion of no confidence for a year, he sees his authority undermined by the scale of the sling. He now has the delicate mission of once again seducing his troops and his electorate.
Gathering his party, divided, promises to be difficult. There is a high risk that disgruntled MPs will obstruct future government action, for example the soon-to-be-scheduled revisions to Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit status, which heralds new tensions with the European Union .
Especially since Boris Johnson has not finished with the repercussions of the “partygate”.
After those of the police and senior civil servant Sue Gray, another investigation, this time parliamentary, is planned. If the latter concludes, a priori in the fall, that he deceived the House of Commons by claiming not to have broken the rules, he is supposed to resign.
Two by-elections on June 23 will also have test value for the conservative leader who rules out the possibility of early legislative elections, with the elections to be held in 2024.