Even a win for Boris Johnson in confidence vote may leave him wounded

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Even a win for Boris Johnson in confidence vote may leave him wounded
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Knives were out on Monday for No10 and whips as Boris Johnson faced a leadership vote.

They were accused of a lack of a major political operation to shore up the Prime Minister ahead of the crunch confidence vote.

One loyal MP told The Standard: “It would take an act of supreme incompetence from the PM’s team to lose this.

“However, No10 are supremely incompetent.

“The entire political operation is just lazy.”

He added that other MPs had not been contacted to see if they are wobbling.

Amid a frenzied atmosphere at Westminster, speculation was flying that more than a dozen ministers were said to be mulling over whether to continue supporting Mr Johnson or not.

Parliamentarians were also trying to work out what was the tipping point which could allow the Prime Minister to survive or signal the end of his premiership.

If he gains 180 votes, he will have won a majority of the 359 Tory MPs to back him and can at least technically carry on in office.

But several MPs believe he will be in the danger zone if between 120 and 130 MPs rebel, with some arguing that more than 100 would leave him so wounded.

Mr Johnson was expected to be able to rely on at least the vast majority of the Government’s payroll vote to support him, which will get him well on his way to 180.

The respected think tank the Institute for Government puts the current payroll at between 160 and 170 MPs.

However, given that it is a secret ballot, the Prime Minister cannot rely on all ministers, parliamentary private secretaries and envoys to back him, even if they tell the whips that they are doing so.

The confidence vote was triggered after at least 54 MPs sent in letters of no confidence in the PM to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Backbench Tory MPs.

Some of them were “post-dated” to come into force on Monday morning after the end of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations so as to avoid blighting them by political turmoil.

Sir Graham contacted the Prime Minister to discuss the confidence vote with him on Sunday having travelled down from his Altrincham and Sale West constituency on Saturday.

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