Downing Street will almost certainly have asked the 1922 Committee Executive for the ballot to take place as soon as possible – in order to prevent anti-Boris Johnson sentiment among Conservative MPs from gathering pace.
We may see by the end of the day to what degree that calculation is correct. At any rate, we will certainly have a result.
There have been three previous leadership challenges to Conservative Prime Ministers: I will be posting about these later this morning.
In all three cases, the Prime Minister in question (Margaret Thatcher twice, Theresa May once) won the ballot in question. But both were gone within a year of it taking place.
The Institute of Government claims that the present payroll vote is “between 160 and 170 MPs”. That’s almost half of the total of 359 Conservative MPs.
The supposition is that most of the payroll will vote for the Prime Minister, so he should win today – whatever else may follow.
The figure to watch will be the proportion of those voting against Johnson today. John Major, who resigned his leadership to re-contest it in 1995, won by 218 votes to 89.
Theresa May won hers in 2018 by 200 to 117. A question that follows is what the 1922 Committee Executive, the Prime Minister’s Cabinet colleagues and other Ministers make of a Johnson win by a similar margin or less.