The leader survived Monday’s vote of no confidence from his Conservative Party MPs provoked by slingers following the “partygate”, these celebrations in Downing Street during the anti-Covid confinements which earned him a fine – a first for a Prime incumbent minister in the United Kingdom.
Even if he cannot be targeted by another motion of no confidence for a year, Boris Johnson sees his authority undermined by the scale of the sling and addresses his return to the deputies, at 11:00 GMT, in a position of weakness. . More than four out of ten deputies from his camp (148 out of the 359 voters) who voted to oust him.
He now has the delicate mission of once again seducing his troops and his electorate, scalded by scandals and strangled by inflation, at the highest in 40 years.
During a council of ministers on Tuesday, he recalled his government’s priorities in the coming weeks to “move the country forward”: health, security and the economy, in the midst of a purchasing power crisis.
“He won the vote, he has the confidence of the majority of MPs and that’s how it works,” Health Minister Sajid Javid, a stalwart, commented on Sky News. “No Prime Minister I have known in the past has had the confidence of 100% of his deputies,” he continued.
But bringing together a very divided party promises to be difficult, and the risk is high that disgruntled MPs will obstruct government action.
“I hope what Johnson avoids now is deciding on a series of populist measures which are designed in the hope of bolstering our immediate popularity,” MP David Davis, who has since voiced several months his dissatisfaction with the head of government.
What is needed, on the contrary, is a “real change in the government in its flesh”, he warned. Since triumphantly winning the 2019 legislative elections, Boris Johnson “has let things go. His victory in the vote (Monday) gives him one last chance to pull himself together”.
Like others among the “Tories”, this former Brexit minister pleads for an economic policy more in line with conservative values, namely a reduction in taxes against the controversial increase in social security contributions decided by the government or the tax announced on the profits of the oil giants.
A concession the government is willing to consider, Sajid Javid told the BBC. “We want taxes to be as low as possible,” he said, recalling however the weight of the pandemic on public finances.
– Parliamentary inquiry –
Despite the relief of having convinced a majority of Tory MPs, 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 Boris Johnson 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.
Tobias Ellwood, a Conservative MP who called on Mr Johnson to resign, predicts that the Prime Minister will only survive his post “a few months”.
Several names are circulating of possible candidates for his succession, without anyone really emerging, enough to make some elected officials hesitate, tempted to oust the head of government.