Boris Johnson could face another confidence vote in just six months as the leading Conservative committee is looking at changing the rules after he survived last night’s vote, a senior Tory rebel has said.
Tobias Ellwood, who voted against the prime minister, said he understands the heads of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs are now looking at altering the rules so the leader of the Tory party could face another confidence vote within a year of surviving one.
Mr Johnson insisted on Tuesday he had secured a “decisive” victory despite 41% of his own MPs voting to oust him on Monday night. However, it was enough for him to continue as leader.
The current Tory party rules stipulate that once a confidence vote is carried out and a leader garners enough support to continue then they will not face another vote for another year.
Asked by Sky News’ Kay Burley if that rule could be changed so another vote could happen within six months, Mr Ellwood said: “I understand that’s what the 1922 Committee are looking at, deliberately for this reason.
“Because if we’re going to have that stay of execution, we are now going to recognise the democratic outcome and support the prime minister then let’s give the prime minister time to improve.
“But, methods can be made, the system can be adjusted to mean the current rule of allowing a prime minister an entire year would be changed.”
He added that he would “see us going down that route” and would “support it being introduced” but at the moment he supports the democratic outcome of the vote.
“It’s up to Number 10 and the prime minister to act on his word that he’s going to change things around and show that we have a chance of winning the general election,” Mr Ellwood said.
The ballot last night was secret but from what MPs indicated before, it is likely about 75% of backbenchers voted against Mr Johnson.
Conservative backbench MP Ben Bradley, a long-time ally of Mr Johnson, told Sky News that looking at the numbers, it is “inevitable” some cabinet ministers and ministers voted against the PM.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab came out in support of Mr Johnson, telling Sky News: “The prime minister won it with 59% – that’s actually more than he got in terms of support when he was elected leader of the Conservative Party.
“We’ve had that vote now, it was the prerogative of those calling for it to have it.
“The prime minister won it clearly, he won it by 63 votes, and now the most important thing is to respect that vote and move forward.”
He added that Mr Johnson has not been disheartened by the vote and now has “renewed energy” to deliver his policies.
The PM is bringing his Cabinet together today to call on ministers to “drive forward progress on the government’s priorities”, a Downing Street spokesman said.
He will set out his “vision”, including new policy commitments such as reducing childcare costs and a “renewed drive” to get more people on the housing ladder.
But Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said Mr Johnson was “mortally wounded” by the vote as she called him “arrogant, dismissive, a liar”.
She told Sky News: “No I don’t want Boris Johnson to stay in post because as you know many of the public see politicians in general as untrustworthy – Boris Johnson is pulling down standards in public life which is why we’ve got the motion today to uphold them.
“I think he is doing a disservice to the country and it is pretty clear now that the British public have lost all confidence in Boris Johnson.”