Analysis: Boris Johnson Is Now A Dead Man Walking

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148 of Boris Johnson's colleagues voted against him (Photo: Alberto Pezzali via PA Wire/PA Images)
148 of Boris Johnson's colleagues voted against him (Photo: Alberto Pezzali via PA Wire/PA Images)

148 of Boris Johnson's colleagues voted against him (Photo: Alberto Pezzali via PA Wire/PA Images)

First, the good news for Boris Johnson. Most of his MPs support him continuing as prime minister.

Now, the very bad news. More than 40 per cent of them - 148 - have declared they have no confidence in him continuing as leader.

While the prime minister, in a strictly arithmetical sense, won the vote, politically it is a devastating result which deals a hammer blow to his chances of survival.

When the confidence vote was called this morning, Number 10 were hopeful that the rebellion could be kept below the psychologically important figure of 100.

At the very least, they hoped that fewer than 133 would call on him to go, thereby ensuring the PM did better than Theresa May when she faced her own confidence vote in 2018.

However, after a string of MPs went public to declare they wanted him out, the rebellion was at the upper end of their worst case scenario.

So what does it mean in practice? Johnson will survive for now, but his prime ministerial authority is gone, making it next to impossible for him to perform a major reshuffle or force contentious legislation through parliament.

And with the Tories facing defeat in two by-elections on June 23, and the privileges committee carrying out its own inquiry into whether he misled MPs over partygate, things are likely to get even worse for the PM before too long.

Of course, he will try to ride it out and there is next to no chance of him going voluntarily.

The big question now is whether members of his cabinet, as Margaret Thatcher’s did more than 30 years ago, take it upon themselves to inform him that the game is up.

Whatever happens, there is little doubt that in political terms, Johnson is now a dead man walking. The only question is what, or who, will deliver the fatal blow.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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