What now for Boris Johnson? Four scenarios as PM refused to resign

Boris Johnson criticised by angry voters in Grimsby

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While Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologised to the House of Commons today, it has done little to dampen the furore felt by the public and lawmakers. A fiery two hours in the Commons saw SNP’s Ian Blackford ejected from the House for refusing to retract his claim that Mr Johnson deliberately misled parliament. As the Prime Minister’s position becomes more untenable, what could the future hold for Boris Johnson?


If the upcoming results of the police investigation and the full, unredacted version of Sue Gray’s report implicates the Prime Minister heavily in the events, his hand could be forced.

However, Mr Johnson has made it clear he has little intention of leaving office just yet, insisting the results of the Met Police probe must be made public before he will comment further.

As most will remember, he originally said the result of the Sue Gray report should be waited on before he takes further action.

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Vote of no confidence

Rumours of MPs, particularly those elected in northern and midland seats in the 2019 election, delivering letters to Sir Graham Brady, head of the 1922 Committee.

A vote of no confidence is when a parties MP’s have decided they do not trust the current leader to continue in their post.

The Conservative Party’s rules state at least 15 percent of Tory MPs must write a no-confidence letter to make a leadership challenge possible.

This figure currently equates to 54 Conservative MPs needing to submit a letter to 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady.

Under the Conservative Party’s rules, letters are handed in confidentially, so no accurate total of how many have been submitted is known.

If enough letters are received – 54 – a secret ballot will take place.

MPs will then be able to decide whether they have sufficient confidence in the Prime Minister to go on with the job.

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Motion of censure

Already enacted by the SNP in November 2021, Labour could follow their lead and enact something called a “motion of censure”.

According to the Commons Library, a censure motion is a “type of motion that seek to criticise the behaviour of the Government, in relation to a single minister, in relation to a specific Government policy, or to express explicitly no confidence in the Government.”

It is essentially a no-confidence motion but submitted by opposition parties.

Business as usual

As has become glaringly apparent during Mr Johnson’s time in office, abiding by the rules in public life is no longer the case.

Many will remember when the Prime Minister attempted to rip up the parliamentary standards rulebook to save Owen Paterson – which was met with such considerable backlash Mr Paterson resigned as an MP altogether.

Mr Johnson’s belligerence in refusing to step down is being taken on board by a number of MPs who previously supported him – many of whom have come out publicly in the Commons and to the press.

Should he be found guilty of breaching coronavirus rules, he will also have deliberately misled parliament and breached the ministerial code – however, Mr Johnson’s stubbornness may see him carry on as normal despite this.

The PM did accept the initial findings of Ms Gray’s report today and said the inner workings of Number 10 would change – but how he will respond to the police investigation is yet to be seen.

Mr Johnson said in the Commons: “While the Metropolitan Police must yet complete their investigation, and that means there are no details of specific events in Sue Gray’s report, I, of course, accept Sue Gray’s general findings in full, and above all her recommendation that we must learn from these events and act now.”

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