What happens if Boris Johnson refuses to quit?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Political Correspondent, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks at Downing Street in London, Britain July 6, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Boris Johnson is coming under increasing pressure to resign. (Reuters)

Boris Johnson's premiership is hanging by a thread.

Dozens of ministers have resigned in the past 24 hours and senior Cabinet figures are also believed to have gone to Downing Street to tell the PM he should stand aside.

So far, Johnson has insisted publicly that he will "keep going".

Yahoo News UK explains what could happen if he does stick it out, and what Tory MPs can do to force him from office.

What happens next?

Any formal process to remove Johnson would normally start with Conservative MPs submitting letters of no confidence to the influential 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers.

However, the group's rules dictate that only one vote of confidence can be held per year and, because Johnson survived a confidence vote last month, in theory he remains safe for now.

Read more: Buckingham Palace 'plans to block PM calling snap election'

There had been widespread rumours that the committee would change the rules on Tuesday evening to enable another confidence vote to take place. It has since been confirmed that the rules will stay the same - for now.

However, new elections to the committee are due to be concluded by early next week. At that point, Sir Graham Brady - the chair - could change the leadership election rules and force the prime minister to face another vote within days.

CORRECTS THAT CHRIS HEATON-HARRIS IS NOT IN PICTURE - File photo of Chris Pincher in Downing Street, London. Britain’s government is facing another boozy scandal after the deputy chief whip resigned from his post after a drunken incident this week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced calls on Friday, July 1, 2022,  to expel Chris Pincher from the Conservative Party. (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)
Chris Pincher was appointed as a minister by Boris Johnson despite him knowing about his history of sexual assault. (AP)

What happens if he loses the vote?

If Johnson loses a vote of no confidence, then a Conservative party leadership contest would ensue.

Leadership hopefuls would then need two nominations from other Tory MPs to run - after which party MPs would hold a ballot to choose the candidates.

Candidates with the lowest votes are eliminated until only two remain, and the winner is then chosen by Tory party members.

Read more: Do you think Boris Johnson should quit?

As it's entirely an internal party matter, a general election is not needed - and the decision of who becomes the leader is down to Conservative party members, who have the final say.

The entire process usually lasts around 12 weeks, with MPs vying for leadership launching campaigns in a similar way to a general election.

Britain's Environment Secretary Liz Truss arrives for a cabinet meeting at number 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain July 12, 2016.             REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Liz Truss is the bookies favourite to be Boris Johnson's successor. (Reuters)

Which Tories could replace him as leader?

In the interim, should Johnson be ousted, it is likely deputy prime minister Dominic Raab would take over until a leadership contest is held.

As to who will lead the party thereafter, there are already reports that senior Conservative MPs - like Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss, who are immensely popular in the party - have their eyes on the top job.

Read more: Do you think Boris Johnson should quit?

What happens if he wins the vote?

Should Boris Johnson survive another confidence vote, he has vowed to battle on.

And on Wednesday, the prime minister's spokesperson said he expects to survive.

However, the chances of this happening are close to zero due to the sheer number of Tories who have gone on record to say they want him to go.

Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, announces that Boris Johnson has survived an attempt by Tory MPs to oust him as party leader following a confidence vote in his leadership at the Houses of Parliament in London. Picture date: Monday June 6, 2022.
Boris Johnson survived a confidence vote on 6 June. (PA)

When could Boris Johnson be gone?

If Johnson is ousted, it would depend on what the 1922 committee decides to do.

If the committee decides to allow another confidence vote this year, then Johnson's departure could be imminent - as soon as next week. It also seems likely that any vote of confidence would need to take place before 22 July before Parliament goes into recess.

If no rules are changed and Johnson refuses to quit, he could - theoretically - be safe until next year.

Watch: 'Enough is enough', says Sajid Javid as he calls on ministers to oust Boris Johnson

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting