Boris Johnson warned elephant traps ahead as confidence vote win fails to heal Tory rift

Roger Gale warns of ‘further elephant traps down the road’

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The Prime Minister survived a vote of no confidence brought on by Tory rebels over Partygate on Monday, but Sir Roger Gale was quick to warn Boris Johnson of further challenges ahead. In total 211 Conservative MP backed Mr Johnson in the secret ballot while a sizeable minority of 148 voted for him to be ousted as party leader.

Sir Roger told Sky News: “I don’t believe that he should take the party into the next election and I think there are other elephant traps down the road.

“Two by-elections coming up, the Privileges Committee report in the Autumn.

“There are a lot of hurdles ahead, and I think a Prime Minister of honour would look at the figures accept the fact that he has lost the support of a significant proportion of his party and consider his position.

“But I don’t think he’ll do that.”

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Mr Johnson survived a confidence vote in his leadership of the Tory party but his authority has been dealt a significant blow.

Tory MPs voted by 211 to 148 in support of the Prime Minister but the scale of the revolt against his leadership leaves him wounded.

When Theresa May faced a confidence vote in 2018 she secured the support of 63 percent of her MPs – but was still forced out within six months.

Mr Johnson saw 41 percent of his MPs vote against him, a worse result than Mrs May.

Boris Johnson wins confidence vote

The Prime Minister made a last-ditch plea to Tory MPs to back him, promising future tax cuts and highlighting his own record of electoral success.

But with concern over the partygate scandal, economic policy, drifting opinion polls and Mr Johnson’s style of leadership, the Prime Minister faced a difficult task to persuade his doubters.

The ballot was triggered after at least 54 MPs – 15 percent of the party’s representatives in the Commons – said they had no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Mr Johnson wrote to Tory MPs and addressed them at a private meeting in Westminster in the hours before voting began.

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He told the meeting that “under my leadership” the party had won its biggest electoral victory in 40 years, and pledged future tax cuts, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak expected to say more in the coming weeks.

He warned them that Tory splits risked the “utter disaster” of Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour entering Downing Street, propped up by the SNP.

“The only way we will let that happen is if we were so foolish as to descend into some pointless fratricidal debate about the future of our party,” he said.

He told Tory MPs “I understand the anxieties of people who have triggered this vote” but “I humbly submit to you that this is not the moment for a leisurely and entirely unforced domestic political drama and months and months of vacillation from the UK”.

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