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Angry UK Lawmakers Trigger Confidence Vote In Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a confidence vote on Monday after a growing number of lawmakers in his Conservative Party questioned the British leader's authority over what has been dubbed the "partygate" scandal.

Johnson, who scored a sweeping election victory in 2019, has been under increasing pressure after he and staff held alcohol-fuelled parties in his Downing Street office and residence when Britain was under strict lockdowns due to COVID-19.

He was met with a chorus of jeers and boos - and some muted cheers - at events to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth in recent days.

On Monday, the once seemingly unassailable Johnson was also lambasted by ally Jesse Norman, a former junior minister who said the 57-year-old prime minister staying in power insulted both the electorate and the party. read more

"You have presided over a culture of casual law-breaking at 10 Downing Street in relation to COVID," he said, adding the government had "a large majority, but no long-term plan".

Later, the prime minister fought back, meeting his party's lawmakers just hours before the vote was due to begin, promising to shore up the economy and return to traditional Conservative policies such as cutting taxes.

A Conservative source said Johnson would lay out a plan for growth next week, quoting the prime minister as telling the lawmakers that he could get through "bumpy times" and "I can rebuild trust".

The source added: "Is there anyone here who hasn't got pissed in their lives? Is there anyone who doesn't like a glass of wine to decompress?" read more

Several lawmakers leaving the meeting of backbench Conservatives said they believed Johnson would win the confidence vote, brought at a time when Britain is facing rising prices, the risk of recession and strike-inflicted travel chaos in London.

Not everyone was convinced.

Jeremy Hunt, a former health minister who ran against Johnson for the leadership in 2019, said the party knew it was failing the country. "Today's decision is change or lose," he said. "I will be voting for change." read more

Johnson's anti-corruption chief John Penrose resigned. "I think it's over. It feels now like a question of when not if," he told Sky News.

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