The education secretary boldly claimed the prime minister won his vote of confidence “handsomely” despite clear internal criticism of the leader.
Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News in Westminster’s central lobby: “I think it’s important to remember that no matter what side of the argument you’re on, we all believe in democracy.
“That was a vote, the Prime Minister won comfortably.
“I think it’s important to remember that we can only deliver when we are united. I hope we can draw a line under that now and focus on delivery.’
Asked how he could describe the result as “pretty”, the Tory MP for Stratford-upon-Avon said: “It’s a vote. 50 plus one is a majority. Boris did a lot better.’
Boris Johnson won the vote 211-148, meaning 41% of his own MPs no longer have confidence in the Prime Minister’s position.
Although his victory allows him to remain at Downing Street, Mr Johnson will continue to be under pressure from Tory rebels in the coming weeks after they triggered the first vote today.
In fact, Mr Johnson is now in a worse position than his predecessor Theresa May months before her eviction.
Asked if there will now be a Tory civil war, Mr Zahawi added: “All my colleagues, no matter how they voted, know that if we are united, we will win the election.
“People don’t vote for divided parties – that’s my message.
“We are Democrats first and I think you will find that every colleague – even those who voted against the Prime Minister tonight – will agree with that statement.”
He even referred to the war in Ukraine, adding: “What do you think President Zelenskyy will think tonight?
“He’s going to hit the air knowing his great ally Boris Johnson will be prime minister tomorrow morning. We have to focus on that.”
Those outside the Conservative Party have criticized the results of the no-confidence vote, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon calling Mr Johnson “a lame duck” who has little support across Scotland.
And Labor leader Keir Starmer called the Tories “divided” and said they chose to “ignore the British public” and “support” the Prime Minister.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/06/confidence-vote-nadhim-zahawi-says-boris-johnson-won-handsomely-16781328/ Confidence vote: Nadhim Zahawi says Boris Johnson won 'handsomely'