BREAKING: Boris Johnson has survived a vote of confidence among Tory MPs.
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That’s well above fewer than 133 votes – which Boris Johnson needed to do better than Theresa May when she was challenged. She won 63 per cent. He has just gained 59 per cent.
Half of the 359 Conservative MPs is 180 (rounded up): so those who expressed no confidence in him won between a third and half of the total vote – roughly two votes in five, according to my frantic arithmetic.
Furthermore, the payroll vote is apparently “between 160 and 170 MPs”. Not all of it will have voted for the Prime Minister. But had it done so, he would have won, on these figures, some 40 out of 195 backbenchers.
On my very rough figures earlier, he had roughly 173 declared votes, and those opposed to him a base of roughly 80. So there were about 100 votes going spare.
The only reasonable conclusion one can reach is either a) that the vast bulk of those undeclared MPs voted against the Prime Minister or b) a significant of his payroll and declared supporters did so. I suspect a mix of both.
In one sense, one is enough. In another, it certainly isn’t – especially when over a third of Tory MPs vote against you. We have almost as bad an worst outcome as I feared this afternoon.
“The worst possible result for the Party and the country would be a narrow win for the Prime Minister.” This isn’t exactly narrow. But it’s neither wide, convincing, nor decisive.
All in all, I’m not convinced that this result has done much other than weaken the ground on which Johnson stands – as challenging by-elections, unresolved allegations, a Commons inquiry and a cost of living crisis loom.