In the end, it was not a double, but a triple blow.
Boris Johnson lost not only in two by-elections, but also the chairman of his partywho became the first in his cabinet to publicly express concern about the prime minister’s leadership, saying volunteers and staff “deserve better than this.”
The snap election losses he was looking forward to, but The resignation of Oliver Dowden He was not there, finding out when he returned to his room in Kigali after swimming at 6 am (he returned to the UK at 5 am) checking his phone.
Mr. Dowden soon called and then sent a letter that should have been painful to read.
The former chairman of the party told the prime minister that the supporters were “saddened, disappointed by the recent events” and said that he “shares their feelings”.
“We can not continue things as usual, someone must take responsibility,” he said, proposing his resignation.
A source close to the Prime Minister later told me that the letter was “useless”. Others would argue that it was disastrous because Mr. Dauden offered his allegiance to the Conservative Party but said nothing about Mr. Johnson’s allegiance.
But this is not just a (continuing) leadership crisis for the Prime Minister, it is a potentially wider crisis for the Conservative Party.
Take the Tiverton election results. It was a shocking result – a record-breaking one, the largest percentage loss of a majority of Thorins in any by-election – one of the largest post-election by-elections against them.
Most of them 24,000, where there should be an extremely safe seat, overturned by 29.9% Lib Democrats.
In the context of how secure his seat was, if the Conservatives lost all their seats in the general election with a smaller majority than Tiverton, the party would be reduced to just 72 seats.
By-elections, of course, are very different beasts from general elections, but I aim to show why Mr. Johnson MPs are so concerned.
They will consider whether their seats are secure under his leadership, whether the “proven vote winner” is going to take them to the next redundancy election.
They will ask themselves whether Mr. Johnson, once hailed as a Heineken politician who could reach parts of the country that other Tories could not, is now devastated.
Mr. Johnson Kigali wanted to make up for the losses to the mid-term bluesbut it seems more serious than that և his party is afraid of it.
Election guru John Curtis put the results in context, noting that the results of the last by-elections, which lost four out of five, were the party’s “worst by-elections since the Tories first returned to power in 2010.”
He noted that in the last five elections, the party’s share of votes has decreased by more than 20 percentage points on average.
You have to go back to 1992-1997. John Major’s years, to find something comparable, he lost the next election.
The entire party – cabinet ministers, MPs, members, staff, volunteers – will inevitably ask themselves whether Mr. Johnson remains the right leader, whether those losses are due to economic circumstances, or deeper.
Voters have indicated that they will tactically vote in this case to give Mr. Johnson a bloody nose.
And that brings us back to the inevitable question of the Conservative Party’s continued leadership as prime minister.
Johnson’s camp in Kigali is clear. The Prime Minister works full time, continues to work, represents British interests on the world stage during various summits and on a number of agendas. From putting pressure on girls’ education to discussing food and energy security issues, the ongoing war in Ukraine at the G7, and NATO.
And for Mr. Johnson personally, the issue was resolved earlier this month when he received a vote of confidence in his leadership.
But 4,000 miles from Rwanda, the cabinet minister, former Conservative leader Lord Howard, and his MPs are once again questioning his suitability for the role.
Lord Howard told the BBC World at One: “The more powerful the party, the better the country would be under a new leadership.” “Members of the government must be very careful about what they do.”
But this is the core of it. There is no prominent successor, և none of the potential runners want to go first.
The anti-Johnson MPs, who missed the opportunity to oust Mr. Johnson with that vote of confidence, are now advocating that his cabinet colleagues use the knife.
So far no one was able to send in the perfect solution, which is not strange.
One of the former cabinet ministers told me on Thursday that the government would not do much at all.
“They do not have nerves,” the deputy said. “If someone went during the vote of confidence, they would now run away from the leader’s favorite.”
Someone told me. “The mood is bad, but I don’t think it changes anything yet.”
At the same time, another cabinet minister told me that “the time has passed” to try to oust Mr. Johnson by telling me about Mr. Dowden’s resignation. “Oliver hated being the party chairman.”
But there is no doubt from Kigali that the prime minister’s team will monitor the resignation, down from the cabinet.
As a source close to the Prime Minister told me this morning, they simply do not know that others will offer their resignation, but they say they will be surprised.
The other mechanism by which the Prime Minister can be reduced from No. 10 would be if the 1922 commission, with the support of the parliamentary party, changes the internal rules to allow voting within a year.
That idea is on the agenda again today.
Then there is the possibility of a huge explosion when the Privileges Committee decides whether the Prime Minister misled the parliament at the end of this year.
Two former cabinet ministers recently told me that a guilty verdict could be the moment the prime minister is ousted through a cabinet resignation or vote against him, either in 1922 or even on the floor of the chamber.
But for now, despite the anxiety, dissatisfaction, loss of ballot boxes, the Prime Minister remains in office.
Three blows today, but no blows for the Prime Minister yet.
Boris Johnson avoids knockout after defeat in midterm elections. Political news
Source Boris Johnson avoids knockout after defeat in midterm elections. Political news