No good outcome for Conservatives as Boris Johnson faces confidence vote

Boris Johnson will face a confidence vote on Monday (June 6) Credit: PA

The moment has finally arrived. Boris Johnson will face a confidence vote and the divisions within the Conservative party are out in the open after months of rumour and background briefings.

As others have noted, it's not a good position for any Prime Minister to be in, whether he wins or loses tonight's vote. 

He has to win the support of a straight majority of Conservative MPs which equates to 180 votes. The cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has already said that a majority of one is enough.

But there are many who think anything short of an overwhelming victory would be tantamount to losing, not that anyone is expecting Boris Johnson to go without a fight. 

He's already shown by not quitting after being fined for breaching his own Covid laws that his bar for resigning is placed much higher than it has been for leaders and Prime Ministers in the past. 

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However, to be facing such public and scathing criticism from his own MPs just two and a half years after winning a record majority for his party is not a healthy place for him to be.

When Theresa May faced a similar vote of Tory MPs in December 2018 she won, but the damage had been done and just a few months later she had resigned, ousted by ... Boris Johnson. 

Now it's his turn. He'll be spending today trying to persuade Conservative MPs to back him but most have already made up their mind. 

Of the 14 Welsh Conservative MPs elected in 2019, one of them, Delyn's Rob Roberts, will not qualify for a vote because he sits as an independent MP after being found guilty of sexually harassing a member of staff.

Most of the others are so far keeping their counsel.

Four have publicly declared they'll support Boris Johnson.

A fifth Welsh Conservative MP waited until hearing Boris Johnson put his case before the backbench 1922 committee before announcing his backing.

Not long afterwards, a sixth - Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton - also declared her support.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Johnson attending the Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee. Credit: PA

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said: "As a Government we’ll be judged on whether we make the right calls on the big challenges - Ukraine, cost of living and the vaccination programme being just 3 examples.

"Confidence votes and regime change risk handing the levers of power to those who will do the most damage to our country.

"There is a reason why Labour and the SNP are the loudest voices calling for the PM to go. Boris Johnson’s great strength is that he is unique - a voice for those that have so often gone unheard across the UK.

"In good times and bad supporting the team - and especially its leader - has never been more important, and that’s what I’ll be doing tonight."

His fellow Wales Office minister David TC Davies tweeted: "My father died in June 2020 during lockdown. 

"At that time, as a Minister, I saw first hand, including at COBR meetings, how determined Boris was to saving lives and getting our country through. His commitment was absolute and I have no hesitation in backing him today."

Boris Johnson was credited with winning over previously Labour-held areas known as red-wall seats including here in Wales.

One of those was Simon Baynes who won Clwyd South in 2019. He's tweeted: "Today I will be supporting Boris Johnson - he has got the big decisions right on vaccines, supporting people through the Covid crisis, delivering on Brexit which the majority of people supported in the referendum and 2019 election and leading international support for Ukraine."

'He has always got the big calls right'

The former Welsh Secretary, Alun Cairns, similarly tweeted: "I will be backing the PM tonight. 

"He has always got the big calls right - Furlough, giving us the lowest unemployment since 70’s; Vaccines, releasing us from Covid sooner than other nations; Strongest leadership against Russian aggression; and coordinated support through energy crisis."

Among those who haven't yet commented are two other former Welsh Secretaries.

David Jones led Boris Johnson's leadership campaign here in Wales but he is also close to a number of prominent critics such as Steve Baker and David Davis. 

Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb has previously been critical of some of Boris Johnson's failings in leadership. 

Brecon and Radnorshire MP Fay Jones appears to have deleted her Twitter account which may or may not be related to today's events. She has a government role as a PPS as does the Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie. 

Also yet to comment are Sarah Atherton, James Davies, Robin Millar, Jamie Wallis and Craig Williams. 

There's every chance that Boris Johnson could win tonight's confidence vote but whatever Welsh Conservative MPs and their colleagues do, the things that have been said about his leadership can't be unsaid. The divisions can't be covered over. The unhappiness can no longer be denied.

For the Conservatives, there's no good outcome from today.