Boris Johnson confidence vote: Conservative MPs back PM , but only just - so what happens now?

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Boris Johnson has survived a confidence vote, with 211 Conservative MPs backing him to remain prime minister.

Mr Johnson needed 180 votes or more in his favour to keep his job after 15% of Tory MPs (54) submitted letters of no confidence in him to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee.

Having avoided being automatically ousted from Number 10, under current rules he is immune from any further leadership challenges for another year.

Johnson suffers bigger rebellion than May: follow live updates

However, the committee is allowed to change those rules and could allow further confidence votes to take place should party members express continued doubt in him.

The ordeal of the confidence vote could also see him come under increasing pressure to resign - as Theresa May did six months after surviving a similar vote in 2018.

Bigger rebellion than Theresa May's

Mr Johnson has suffered a larger rebellion than Mrs May did - with 148 votes against him and a majority of just 63.

She only had the support of 63% of Conservative MPs, but with less than that, at 59%, people could argue that Mr Johnson should do as she did in the months that followed her vote and resign.

Sky News political editor Beth Rigby described the result as "deeply uncomfortable" for the PM.

"You only need 40 MPs to consistently vote against him for him to lose his majority and there you have 148," she said.

"And you have to ask after that if we're going to see a period where Boris Johnson is in Downing Street but he's not really in power and he does not have the majority over his party."

Future is still 'unpredictable' for PM

Sky News deputy political editor Sam Coates added that anything between 100 and 179 votes against him is a "wounding rebellion" for the PM.

"We're at the worse end of results," he said. "Loyalists are privately acknowledging that numbers are higher than they wanted to see."

He says that although Mr Johnson will "seek to downplay the result" and try to distract with announcements on issues such as the Northern Ireland protocol or the reorganising of the civil service, he is "not in the clear".

"The future is still unpredictable.

"There are some significant challenges coming down the track ahead of the next general election - including the escalating cost of living crisis amid questions about what Conservative economic policy actually looks like, the Privileges Committee investigation into whether he misled parliament, and a public inquiry into the government's handling of the pandemic more broadly."

Read more:
How long will Boris Johnson survive in numbers?
Who are the frontrunners to replace the PM?

There are also two by-elections coming up in Wakefield, and Tiverton and Honiton, which will give some idea of Mr Johnson's popularity among voters.

Although the ballot is anonymous and we will never know who voted against the PM, speculation that five members of the cabinet could have done so means they could withdraw support for him in the coming weeks and months.

And Coates stresses that such public criticism from the likes of ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt and former corruption tsar Jesse Norman may have done "undoable damage to the party brand".

Voters and members of the Conservative Party could now write-off Mr Johnson's government as one too divided to lead - even despite the result.

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