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Leader of Sunderland Conservatives says Prime Minister’s ‘days are numbered’ following narrow vote of confidence victory

Leader of Sunderland Conservatives and City Councillor, Cllr Antony Mullen, believes Boris Johnson’s “days are numbered” despite coming out victorious in tonight's (June 6) vote of confidence.

By Neil Fatkin
Monday, 6th June 2022, 10:16 pm

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A total of 359 Tory MPs voted with 211 voting in support of the Prime Minister and 148 against.

The vote was triggered when at least 54 Tory MPs – 15 per cent - submitted formal letters to the chair of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, Sir Graham Brady, calling for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

While the result means that Boris Johnson will remain in charge of the Conservative Party, his position remains vulnerable with a sizeable minority saying they no longer have confidence in his leadership.

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Cllr Mullen, said: "Conservative MPs have chosen to gamble their reputations and their seats by sticking with a Prime Minister that one pollster has called 'political asbestos'.

"This decision does not reflect the opinions of voters across the country.

"I have not had faith in Boris Johnson for a long time and I think the fact a confidence vote has been held at all means his days are numbered."

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference in Downing Street following the publication of Sue Gray's report into parties in Whitehall during the coronavirus lockdown. Photograph: Leon Neal/PA Wire

Sunderland central Labour MP Julie Elliott also feels the outcome leaves the Prime Minister in a politically precarious position.

She said: “The result tonight was much worse for the Prime Minister than expected - he is hugely damaged by this vote. He should do the right thing for the country and resign now.

"He broke the law and lied to the British public. He showed no respect for the sacrifices that families in Sunderland made during the pandemic. Whilst we stayed inside, he partied and then lied about it.”

Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West, added: “The Prime Minister has clung on to his position, propped up by a divided Conservative Party.

“He might have the confidence of his party for now, but it is clear he does not have the confidence of the country, and he has no plan to tackle the current issues facing households up and down the country.”

It was a sentiment shared by Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, who said: “The Prime Minister has lost the trust, confidence and respect of the British people. They are rightly fed up with the lies and the chaos we see from this Government.

“Boris Johnson is more concerned with protecting his job than protecting the public from the cost of living crisis.

“Tonight Conservative MPs have voted to prolong the damage that this government is doing to Britain.”

The challenge to his leadership follows a turbulent year for Boris Johnson which saw him fined for being in breach of Covid lockdown rules as part of an investigation into the partygate scandal which saw the Metropolitan Police has issue 126 fixed penalty notices for rule breaches in No 10 and Whitehall.

While a number of senior Tories called for the Boris Johnson to resign, it was the publication on May 25 of the Sue Gray report which appears to have been the last straw for many MPs who chose to vote against the Prime Minister.

The official inquiry into the Downing Street partygate affair highlighted “failures of leadership and judgement” by the Prime Minister with the report identifying a series of events that “should not have been allowed to happen".

At a time when the country was under strict lockdown restrictions the report identified staff carrying on drinking in No 10 until the early hours of the morning on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral and Boris Johnson joining five advisers in a "food and alcohol" event in his flat on the evening of the announcement of Dominic Cummings departure.

Other misdemenours included the use of a karaoke machine at a Cabinet Office gathering and that Mr Johnson had brought the cheese and wine from his own flat for the infamous “bring your own booze” garden gathering on May 15 2020.

Addressing Tory MPs before the vote, Mr Johnson had vowed to "lead you to victory again” and warned potential rebels about the dangers of “gratifying our opponents by turning in on ourselves”.