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Rebel Tory MP Says Confidence Vote Result Is A “Stay Of Execution” For Boris Johnson

Rebel Tory MP Says Confidence Vote Result Is A “Stay Of Execution” For Boris Johnson

(Alamy)

3 min read

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, who has been a vocal critic of Boris Johnson, has said Monday night’s confidence vote was a “stay of execution” and hinted that the PM could face another vote in under than a year.

On Monday night, Boris Johnson narrowly won a vote of confidence in his leadership after Tory MPs voted by 211 to 148 to keep him in charge. 

But with 41% of MPs voting against Johnson, Ellwood believed the prime minister had “a matter of months” left in office, and suggested to Sky News on Tuesday morning that moves could still be made against him in the lead up to the party conference season in the autumn.

Ellwood added that he understands the 1922 committee of backbench MPs is considering whether to change the rules to allow another confidence vote to take place in six months, rather than a year under current arrangements.

Ellwood indicated he would support such a move "if there's a requirement for it to be introduced". 

“I would see us having to go down that direction," he said. 

But he insisted that he supports the “democratic outcome of what happened last night” and said it was now “up to the Prime Minister to act on his word, to say he can actually turn this around”. 

“If we are now going to have this stay of execution, if we are now going to recognise the democratic outcome and support the prime minister, then let's give the prime minister time to improve,” Ellwood continued.

The senior Tory MP, who chairs the defence select committee, said a Cabinet reshuffle was needed to bring “fresh talent” and “make the Cabinet construction actually work”.

“Let's do things that appeal to the country and not just to our base – more exciting policies than the privatisation of Channel 4 and bringing back imperial measurements, but a real economic strategy that's actually going to help tackle the cost of living crisis,” he continued.

Johnson described Monday night's confidence vote result — which saw 41% of his own party vote against him — as “convincing and decisive”, but is still facing increasing calls to consider his position.

Former party leader William Hague said on Tuesday that Johnson should now seek an “honourable exit” as he has experienced a “greater level of rejection” than any of his predecessors.

“While Johnson has survived the night, the damage done to his premiership is severe,” he wrote in an editorial for The Times.

“Words have been said that cannot be retracted, reports published that cannot be erased, and votes have been cast that show a greater level of rejection than any Tory leader has ever endured and survived.

“Deep inside, he should recognise that, and turn his mind to getting out in a way that spares the party and country such agonies and uncertainties.”

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