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Britain’s Johnson struggles to regain his authority after the rebellion

LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with his cabinet on Tuesday, trying to mend his tarnished authority after weathering a no-confidence vote that left him a severely weakened leader.

Johnson vowed to “continue work” and focus on “what matters to the British people” – defined as the economy, public health and crime – after Conservative Party lawmakers voted 211 to 148 to approve him support as a leader.

Johnson needed the support of 180 of the 359 Conservative MPs in Monday’s secret ballot to stay in power. He got more than that – but although he described the victory as “convincing”, the rebellion was larger than some of his supporters had predicted. It was also a tighter margin than Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, which she received in a 2018 no-confidence vote. Six months later she had to resign.

Under party rules, Johnson is now free from another challenge for a year. But previous prime ministers faced with no-confidence votes, including May and Margaret Thatcher, have been fatally injured.

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The rebellion was a sign of deep Conservative divisions less than three years after Johnson led the party to its biggest election victory in decades. Most British newspapers had little doubt that it was bad news for Johnson. The Conservative-backed Daily Telegraph said: “An empty victory tears the Tories apart,” while the left-leaning Daily Mirror bluntly said: “The party’s over Boris.”

The vote followed months of dissatisfaction over the Prime Minister’s ethics and judgment, which focused on revelations about rights-violating parties in the Prime Minister’s Office when Britain was in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Conservative leader William Hague said that “while Johnson survived the night, the damage done to his premiership is grave” and he should resign.

“Words have been said that cannot be retracted, reports published that cannot be erased and votes cast showing a greater degree of dissent than any Tory leader has ever endured and survived,” Hague wrote in the Times of London.

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https://www.local10.com/news/world/2022/06/07/uks-johnson-scrambles-to-regain-authority-after-rebellion/ Britain’s Johnson struggles to regain his authority after the rebellion

Sarah Y. Kim

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