Boris Johnson to remain prime minister after winning confidence vote

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston reports on a momentous day in Westminster

Boris Johnson is to remain prime minister after scraping through a confidence vote aimed at ousting him.

The under-fire PM won with just 59% of the vote as a huge 148 Tory MPs said they wanted him replacing - a highly damaging result for the PM.

Just 211 Tory MPs supported him out of all 359 who cast their ballots.

However, Mr Johnson insisted it was an “extremely good” result.

“I think it’s an extremely good, positive, conclusive, decisive result which enables us to move on, to unite and to focus on delivery and that is exactly what we are going to do,” he told reporters in Downing Street.

The PM also ruled out a snap election in order to gain a new mandate from the public, insisting he was focused on the public’s priorities.

Under Conservative Party rules, Mr Johnson is exempt from another confidence vote for another year, however the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories is able to change those rules at any time.

The fact Mr Johnson faced a confidence vote at all is a huge blow for the once-hugely popular prime minister but the margin of his win means it's possible he may never recover.

The result was declared by Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee (centre). Credit: PA

Mr Johnson won a lower majority (59% for, 41% against) than his predecessor Theresa May, who was forced to resign six months after winning with 63% in a confidence vote.

She was irreparably damaged despite winning and she was pushed out amid concern on the backbenches that she was unable to win votes in the Commons on her Brexit plan.

Mr Johnson, who took her place, is in a different position to his predecessor, however, because his huge majority means it's likely he'll continue to beat the opposition in the Commons.

But backbenchers who today for the first time revealed their lack of confidence in the PM may become more vocal critics in the coming weeks.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Mr Johnson was "utterly unfit for the great office he holds" and accused Tory MPs of ignoring the British public.

He said: "The Conservative Government now believes that breaking the law is no impediment to making the law."

But Tory MPs backing Mr Johnson were quick out the blocks to offer their support.

How are Tory MPs reacting to the vote? ITV News Deputy Political Editor Anuskha Asthana talked to them after the vote

Liz Truss and Michael Gove have tweeted their support for Boris Johnson after his victory in Monday's confidence vote.

The foreign secretary tweeted: "Pleased that colleagues have backed the prime minister.

"I support him 100%. Now's the time to get on with the job."

The housing secretary said it is time to "focus on the people's priorities" now that the Prime Minister has "secured" the trust of his MPs.

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Mr Gove wrote: "The PM has secured the support of Conservative MPs - now we must carry out what we were elected to deliver - levelling up, cutting crime, securing the benefits of Brexit and improving public services."

"Let's get on with delivery and focus on the people's priorities."

So has Boris Johnson survived the Partygate scandal?

The Partygate scandal is not over for the PM, despite him telling MPs ahead of the vote that it presented them with an opportunity to "draw a line under the issues our opponents want us to talk about".

He's being investigated by Parliament's Privileges Committee which will assess whether he committed contempt of Parliament with his claims in the Commons that Covid rules were always followed in government.

Opposition MPs say police fines issued to him and dozens of his staff prove his assurances were dishonest but the PM claims he was unaware offences had been committed when speaking in Parliament.

Under the ministerial code - which has been signed by the PM - anyone in government found to have knowingly misled MPs is "expected to resign".

Boris Johnson no longer has much authority over his MPs, as Robert Peston explains

What can the Privileges Committee do? Could Boris Johnson be expelled from Parliament?

The Privileges Committee is able to recommend a number of punishments for contempt of parliament, including the power to imprison, or fine, however this has not happened in well over 100 years.

But there are some severe sanctions the Privileges Committee could recommend.

It could say Mr Johnson should be suspended from Parliament, or even expelled if it takes a critical enough view of his conduct.

If he is expelled from Parliament he would cease to be an MP, however he would not be banned from running for election again.

Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks reports from the PM's constituency, where the mood is mixed

If he's suspended for more than two weeks he would face a recall petition which could result in him defending his seat at a by-election.

If 10% of his constituency backs a recall petition it would trigger a by-election.

However, all of this is unlikely because Mr Johnson's Commons majority is likely to block any investigation and even if they approved it, MPs would be required to agree on any proposed sanctions.

The Privileges Committee is not expected to report its conclusions to the House until the autumn.