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Prime Minister may have managed to win a vote of confidence over his leadership, but that’s not to say he’s out of the woods just yet – with many pointing out that the result is not necessarily enough to secure his position.
Johnson received a total of 211 votes in favour and 148 against, having needed the support from 180 MPs to win.
While the win means Johnson is technically immune from a challenge for at least a year, Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee, explained that there is a possibility for rules to change.
He told reporters earlier today: “Technically it’s possible for rules to be changed but the rule at present is there would be a period of grace.”
Looking back to similar instances from past leaders, it’s also clear that the vote does not guarantee how things will pan out in the months to come.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May, for example, faced a vote of confidence back in December 2018, when 200 MPs voted in her favour and 117 against. This was enough for her to continue as leader of both the Conservatives and the nation in the short term, but after struggles within her own party – including failures to get her Brexit deal through the House of Commons – she announced her resignation just five months later.
Margaret Thatcher and John Major also went through confidence votes, both winning their respective ballots. However, like May, Thatcher went on to resign, while Major lost the 1997 general election that followed by a landslide.
According to Sky’s Deputy Political Editor Sam Coats, the big question now is whether or not the cabinet move against Johnson, ‘perhaps after the two by-elections later this month’.
Writing earlier today about a hypothetical 133-180 vote against the Prime Minister, Coats noted that this figure is much bigger than the votes of no confidence May had been hit with.
“Mr Johnson would be determined to hang on - as is his right under Tory party rules,” Coats wrote.
“However, precedent suggests there would be no good outcome from this result, and he could face being ousted like Mrs May or just take the Tories down to defeat at the next general election like Sir John Major.”
The next general election isn't due for some time yet, with a scheduled date of January 2025.
However, the Queen is able to dissolve Parliament before this date. There have also previously been early elections, which are often known as snap elections, as called by May in 2017.
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