London — Boris Johnson survived a no-confidence vote on Monday and remained in office after lawmakers from his Conservative political party held a vote to determine whether he should keep his job.
Johnson needed a simple majority of the 359 Conservative members of Parliament to vote in his favor. He won that with 211 supporting him and 148 voting against him, according to The Associated Press.
A vote of no confidence in the Conservative Party is triggered if the party’s leaders receive letters of request from at least 15% of sitting Conservative members of Parliament. Conservative Party official Graham Brady said Monday morning that that threshold had been passed.
The prime minister of the United Kingdom is not directly elected to serve in the role, but appointed by the political party that wins the majority of seats in Parliament. If Johnson had lost the vote on Monday, the Conservative Party, which holds the majority, would have chosen a new leader to automatically take over as prime minister.
Earlier this month, Johnson wasfor breaking the law after an investigation found that he and his colleagues had held and attended parties during the height of Britain’s lockdown in 2020.
Known as the “partygate” scandal, the revelation that government officials were having wine and cheese in Johnson’s official residence at Number 10 Downing Street — all caught in photographs — while members of the public were prevented from visiting dying relatives under COVID-19 restrictions they had devised sparked mass outrage.
An internal government investigation found there had been “failures of leadership and judgment,” and that the “senior leadership team” should be held responsible.
Despite leading his Conservative Party to a landslide victory in the 2019 U.K. general election, Johnson’s popularity has plummeted in recent months and a number of his own party members have called for him to resign.
“You are simply seeking to campaign, to keep changing the subject and to create political and cultural dividing lines mainly for your advantage, at a time when the economy is struggling, inflation is soaring, and growth is anaemic and best,” Johnson’s longtime supporter and former cabinet minister Jesse Norman said in a letter to the prime minister published Monday.
Norman called some of Johnson’s policies “ugly,” “foolhardy” and “almost certainly illegal.”
But other Conservative lawmakers believed it was the wrong time for a change in party leadership.
“It is crucial that we show people we are delivering on the change they voted for in 2019,” said Cabinet Minister Steve Barclay, a Johnson ally, in a post on the Conservative Party website.