Boris Johnson on probation – what could happen if Prime Minister fails to improve

Brexit impasse could break with Boris Johnson resignation

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Lord Ian Duncan, one of the Conservative Party’s leading peers, has warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson he’s now “on probation”. The PM won a vote of confidence in his leadership last week by 211 votes to 148. However, it has not removed calls for him to resign without delay, and instead led to speculation about how much longer he can remain in office.

Lord Duncan made the comments during an interview with BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show.

He said: “He’s got a task ahead of him right now, he is on probation.

“If he fails that probation, the Tory party will do what it always does with leaders who are not delivering – they will remove him.”

The former Tory minister added that Mr Johnson’s chances of continuing as Prime Minister for the foreseeable future were “slim”.

More than 40 percent of Tory MPs voted against the PM during last Monday’s vote of confidence – a total of 180 were needed for Mr Johnson to resign.

The PM has resisted calls to resign and urged his Cabinet to “draw a line” under questions about his leadership.

But the size of the rebellion against him has raised questions about how much longer Mr Johnson can keep his seat in office.

A key factor which could help to decide Mr Johnson’s future one way or another is the two by-elections, taking place in Tiverton and Honiton, as well as Wakefield, later this month.

The Conservatives are expected to face stern opposition from the Liberal Democrats in Tiverton and Honiton.

Labour are also widely tipped to push the Tories hard in the west Yorkshire city of Wakefield.

A poor showing from Mr Johnson’s party in either could give greater emphasis for a new vote of confidence to take place.

Under current party rules a victorious Conservative leader is immune from a vote of confidence for 12 months.

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But there have been suggestions these could be changed, to allow one to take place much sooner.

One of Mr Johnson’s most vocal critics, Tobias Ellwood told Sky News the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs were looking to rewrite the rules on votes of confidence.

Mr Ellwood – Tory MP for Bournemouth East – said it was his understanding that the heads of the committee were exploring the option for another vote to take place within six months’ time.

The 1922 Committee is viewed as the most senior group in the Conservative Party.

MPs who wish to express their feeling of no confidence in a PM are required to write a letter to its chairman, Sir Graham Brady.

Once the minimum number is received – at least 54 – a vote of confidence will follow shortly afterwards.

If Mr Johnson did resign, a Tory party leadership contest would take place. The winner of which would become the new PM.

The current favourite to win such a vote is ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who previously ran against Mr Johnson for the position in 2019.

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