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As many as 20 letters of no confidence in Boris Johnson are thought to have been submitted by Conservative MPs so far, according to ITV News, with former Brexit minister David Davis warning the Prime Minister that he faces “a death of a thousand cuts” if he continues to cling on to high office.
Davis, who is considering sending a letter himself, told Times Radio there is likely to be a prolonged struggle to topple Johnson. Many backbenchers are rumoured to be waiting until the conclusion of the Metropolitan Police’s criminal investigation into the Partygate scandal. Others are choosing to hold off until May’s council elections.
Should the day come where they chose to pull the trigger on Johnson, what is the process that follows?
A challenge is triggered if 15 per cent of Tory MPs – 54 to be exact – write to Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Committee, saying they no longer have confidence in the PM. If more than 50 per cent – 180 – vote against their leader, the PM is ousted and a leadership contest is called. Johnson is subsequently barred from participating.
If Johnson wins, another confidence vote cannot be held for at least a year. That is not to say he is guaranteed safety. Theresa May survived in December 2018, but was forced to resign less than six months later.
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It is also important to note that letters can be withdrawn, giving Johnson the chance to make amends with his own MPs and, ultimately, save his premiership.