With the 1922 Committee meeting now, Boris Johnson could be ousted tonight – if he doesn’t resign.
The committee is due to meet at 4pm, with a view to changing the rules to allow a second vote of confidence in the PM.
Under the current rules, Johnson is immune from another vote for a period of 12 months; however, if the executive votes for a rule-change, a confidence vote could take place before Parliament goes into recess on 21 July.
The 1922 Committee, which consists of all backbench Conservative MPs, allows backbenchers to discuss their views independent of the frontbenchers. Founded in 1923, by a group of MPs that had been newly elected a year earlier, the Committee voices the views of rank-and-file Tory MPs to the Prime Minister – a loss of support from the 1922 Committee would put Boris Johnson in a very shaky position.
The chairman of the 1922 Committee – in this case Sir Graham Brady – oversees any votes of confidence, as well as the election of a new party leader.
Previously, the chairman has also visited the Prime Minister of the day to inform them that their time is up – as was the case in 2019, when Brady delivered the coup de grâce to Theresa May, which saw her later resign her post.
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In Johnson’s case, however, he has vowed to “keep going” and deliver on his “colossal” 2019 mandate.
So, what if the PM refuses to budge?
If he sticks to his guns, the ’22 may still be able to topple the PM by changing the rules to allow another vote within the 12-month immunity period.
The problem is that the executive committee is due for re-election, expected to take place next week. Pushing another vote through now could be a contentious decision, but with several Tory MP’s saying they will run for the Committee on the basis of voting for a change in the rules, another vote could take place in the immediate future regardless of what the Committee decides to do.
At the time of writing, 31 Tory MPs have resigned in less than 24 hours, with Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak leading the pack. The previous record of ministerial resignations was set in 1932, when 11 ministers resigned – it is proving difficult to keep track of the new record.
As the Prime Minister’s ministerial team crumbles around him at record pace, it is looking increasingly likely that Boris will receive a visit from “the men in grey suits” this evening.
If he doesn’t, then he might well be gone by the end of the day anyway.