As Things Sour for Boris Johnson, 1922 Committee Enters Spotlight

It has the power to allow another no-confidence vote
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2022 9:15 AM CDT
The Resignations Rack Up, as Do the Cries for Johnson to Go
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

More resignations are streaming out of the British government, but still not the big one. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clinging on despite the Wednesday resignations of six more junior ministers, which the BBC reports means the tally of ministers and aides who have resigned stands at 27. Five of them resigned en masse via a single letter that closes by asking Johnson to "step aside." The Guardian called their joint move "a novelty" and says the five—the ministers for equalities; media, data, and digital infrastructure; leveling up; skills; and business—"are regarded as rising stars."

The weekly Prime Minister's Questions (PMQ) session was held in Parliament Wednesday, with members of the opposition Labour Party greeting Johnson with "Go! Go!" The AP observes that "more damningly," he fielded a challenge from within his Conservative Party, with lawmaker Tim Loughton asking whether anything might lead him to resign. "Frankly, the job of the prime minister in difficult circumstances, when he's been given a colossal mandate, is to keep going," Johnson replied.

After the PMQ, Johnson's press secretary maintained that Johnson is assured he could win a second confidence vote if necessary. Whether one can be held is another story. As the AP explains, Johnson survived a confidence vote on June 6, meaning another no-confidence vote can't technically be held until June 2023. But the 1922 Committee could change that. The AP defines the group as "about a dozen Conservative backbenchers—legislators who hold no government office—who meet regularly to discuss party matters. It meets with the party leader monthly to represent the views of the rank and file within the party."

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It establishes the rules by which a sitting leader can be challenged, and CNN reports the 1922 executives are slated to meet Wednesday to set a date for committee elections. If more anti-Johnson MPs join the executive, the likelihood of a rules change skyrockets. "Until that point, the real question is just how much public humiliation can the Prime Minister take?" the outlet notes. (More Boris Johnson stories.)

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