A Tory leadership contest could cement Johnson’s hold on power

The number of Conservative MPs who have confirmed that they have sent letters of no confidence to the chair of the back bench 1922 Committee continues to tick upwards. Under party rules, if 15% of Conservative MPs write to the chair of the committee to express their loss of confidence in the party leader, a leadership contest will be triggered. 15% of the number of current Tory MPs is 54, and that is the number of letters that Committee chair Sir Graham Brady must receive if there is to be a leadership election.

The committee chair does not publish a running total of the number of letters he has received and not all MPs choose to reveal that they have submitted letters. Currently around 40 MPs have let it be known that they have lost confidence in Johnson, although it is not known if all of them have submitted formal letters to the 1922 Committee, however it is thought that a number of others have already done so but have chosen not to make the fact public. Often this reticence is out of fear of alienating their constituency associations, particularly if the push to remove the leader fails to gain sufficient support.

We have already seen the humiliating screeching U-turn performed by Scottish Tory branch manager Douglas Ross, who was very vocal about the urgency of Johnson’s need to resign when he thought that there was enough support to trigger a leadership contest, but as soon as it became clear that the move to unseat Johnson was fizzling out, all of a sudden Ross thought Johnson wasn’t doing such a bad job after all. There is no such thing as principle in the Conservative party, there is only a transactional calculation about what Conservative MPs think is best for their careers.

What is clear however is that disquiet about Johnson amongst Conservative MPs has reached such an extent that they are close to triggering a leadership contest. This may die down, as it did earlier this year, but it could still gain fresh momentum.

Parliament is in recess this week, MPs have returned to their constituencies where it is thought that many will take soundings from their local constituencies about the extent of the damage that Johnson’s lies and law breaking have done to their chances of re-election, which is all that the vast majority of Conservative MPs care about. An opinion poll published recently suggested that if a General Election was to be held just now the Conservatives could be facing the loss of as many as ninety seats, which would wipe out their majority and leave Labour as the largest party in Parliament. The party could even face the humiliation of Boris Johnson losing his own seat. No sitting British Prime Minister has lost their seat in a General Election since the Conservative Prime Minister Arthur Balfour lost his seat in the General Election of 1906.

Former Tory minister Tobias Ellwood a prominent Conservative critic of Johnson told Sky News that the party was “increasingly in a difficult place, adding “and we still seem to be in denial. It’s time to shake off this partisan Stockholm syndrome, I believe. Our party brand is suffering. We will lose the next election on current trajectory as reflected in recent elections.” The party is due to face two challenging by-elections on 23 June, one in Wakefield triggered by the 18 month jail sentence imposed on Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan following his conviction in April this year for the sexual assault of a 15 year old boy in 2008. The second by election on 23 June will be in the Conservative strong hold of Tiverton and Honiton in Devon. This by-election was called after Neil Parrish resigned when it came to light that he had been watching porn on his mobile phone in the Commons on two occasions.

Wakefield is one of the so-called Red Wall seats in Northern England which the Conservatives took from Labour in the 2019 General Election and Labour will be hoping to take the seat back from the Tories. This is one of the seats that Labour must recover if it is to have any chance of overtaking the Conservatives in a General Election.

Tiverton and Honiton covers an area which has not been represented in Westminster by a party other than the Conservatives since 1923. It is likely that the Conservatives will retain the seat, but nervous Tories will be watching how well the Lib Dems perform. A strong Lib Dem performance will reinforce Tory fears that Johnson has become an electoral liability who threatens their stranglehold on power.

Party managers will be doing their best to manage expectations before the by-elections and to some extent a drop in the Conservative vote is already priced in, however if Labour and the Lib Dems do much better than expected and there is a dramatic decline in the Tory vote, this will only encourage yet more Conservative MPs to submit letters of no-confidence in Johnson to Sir Graham Brady.

Yet even if a leadership contest is triggered, Johnson has made it clear that he has no intentions of going quietly and will fight tooth and nail to keep his job, using all the dirty tricks at his disposal. There is no obvious successor in sight. All the likely contenders are heavily implicated in the misgovernment which characterises the Johnson regime, while the hitherto prime contender Rishi Sunak, has also been fined by the police for breaching lockdown and has additional come under severe pressure due to his family’s tax arrangements. This pressure has cracked open Sunak’s carefully curated public image and has revealed him to be in his own way every bit as contrived, venal, and entitled as the man he would like to replace.

It is a shocking indictment of the Westminster system that the only way in which a lying law-breaking Prime Minister can be removed is if the Conservative MPs who put him in the highest office in full knowledge of his entitlement and propensity for lying and holding rules in contempt if he finds them inconvenient decide that it is in their personal and political interests to replace him with another of their number. Whoever does replace him will be just as committed to the Conservatives’ post-Brexit project of centralising power in Downing Street and continuing along the road of British nationalist authoritarianism.

There is every possibility that Johnson could survive a leadership challenge. If he does the rules of the Conservative party state that he cannot face another challenge for a year. That could be just what Johnson needs, it would give him a year during which he could behave as outrageously as he liked without fear of any consequences, and during which the UK’s democratic safeguards will continue to be attacked and undermined.

This blog tries to articulate arguments that might resonate with undecided voters or even soft no voters, not just to appeal to dedicated supporters of independence, and tries to develop arguments that independence supporters can use when trying to persuade those crucial undecideds and soft no voters. Site traffic has been holding up well over the past year, despite the fact that my health issues have forced me to post less frequently than before the stroke. The blog is still getting around the same number of visitors as it was in 2020. However as we move towards a second referendum, it would be good to boost this blog’s reach as we need all hands on deck to counter the strength of the anti-independence media. I’d like to ask regular readers if they can share links to posts on this blog on their own Facebook pages or with any appropriate groups that they belong to on Facebook or other platforms. If you are willing to do this, please don’t just post the link and nothing else, preface the link with a few words or a line of text. Thank you.

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45 comments on “A Tory leadership contest could cement Johnson’s hold on power

  1. Isabel Macpherson says:

    I always share on Facebook before reading then preface it with a quote. The only problem is choosing which bit to quote. Keep up the good work Paul.

    • yesindyref2 says:

      I think all that matters is that some relevant text is there, rather than just the link itself. I’m guessing it’s to do with search engines (SE) and optimisation (SEO). If 50 people just put the link with no text, the SE algorithms could decide it was spam and downgrade the links, whereas a few words, whether a short quote or your own words, makes it legitimate and helps its rankings.

    • weegingerdug says:

      Delighted to know that I am spoiling you for choice!

  2. James Mills says:

    Fully agree , Paul !

    The Liar-in-chief will survive regardless of whether there is a leadership ( sic ) contest or whether the Party -in -Search -of -a -Backbone continue with their acceptance of the worst Government since Caligula appointed his horse to the Senate .
    ( There is an argument that by showing Horse Sense that creature was more in tune with the public than the collective UK Cabinet ! )

    Thousands dead , needlessly , in a pandemic ; Brexit madness ; Cost-of-Living crisis ; Party-Gate contempt at the heart of Government ; Fuel prices out of control ; PPE corruption off-the -scale ; Dark money fuelling the Party of the Rich (aka Conservatives ) ; incompetents in charge of the levers of State …. and STILL the Labour alternative is not out of sight in the polls .

    As that great philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche put it ” We’re F*cked ! ”

  3. Hamish100 says:

    The Tory MP’S will always do what’s best for them despite claiming to Patriotic Englishmen or women. Their self interest is for all to see when Euro hater Rees hyphen Mogg moved some of his family investments to Ireland despite his Brexit credentials.

    Worth remembering that this is who labour like to be in coalition with.

  4. Dr Jim says:

    Andrea Leadsome, a not insignificant figure amongst Tories is the latest to speak out against Johnson, Loathsome Leadsome might look and sound like a middle class nice lady but is far removed from that in reality is a known supporter of Johnson style tactics so being the character she is, which is a person who sees an opportunity for self advancement, this move by her is probably based on direction of travel towards a showdown of some sorts in which she’ll believe she can benefit, she has powerful allies

    Remember when she presented herself for the PM job then blew it over her Theresa May childless comments and was forced to withdraw from the contest because of eh *family pressures* in other words it looked like she might lose

  5. Capella says:

    Ii think the Queen, as Head of State, should demand his resignation and trigger an election. Then we could all celebrate the Jubilee with some conviction.

    • Dr Jim says:

      I bet the Queen would’ve loved to have that sort of power returned to the Monarchy sometimes

      • Capella says:

        Well why not break the “rules”? Everybody else does. What is the point of being the Head of State if you can’t have some fun?

  6. Alex Clark says:

    Whether he goes or stays is irrelevant to me, having him stay PM for at least another year when he cannot be challenged again would no doubt bring more carnage and bad decisions but there’s little we can actually do about it other than in a general election.

    If they get rid of him then his replacement will likely just pick up the baton rom exactly where Johnson dropped it and carry on exactly the same so for the vast majority of the people of Scotland I don’t think it matters which Tory is in charge. What does matter is that we get rid of them for good by supporting and voting for Independence at the next referendum and that’s what I’ll be focusing on.

    • Dr Jim says:

      £20 million has just been announced by the SNP to support the campaign to hold indyref next year

      • Alex Clark says:

        Timed perfectly!

        • Tam the Bam says:

          I can see the headlines now … ” Indyref2 obsessed Sturgeon squandering taxpayers cash on not wanted referendum!”

          • Welsh_Siôn says:

            Ever get the feeling of deja (deja, deja etc.) vu?

            “Nicola Sturgeon sparks fury as she lavishes taxpayers’ cash on her IndyRef2 unit”

            – *Real* headline from the Scottish [sic.] Daily Express, 24 April 2022.

      • Dr Jim says:

        The media are raging on behalf of the people, the unionists aren’t happy on behalf of the people, The *real Independence* supporters aren’t happy because the SNP didn’t consult them so they infest the comments section of the National and everywhere they can complaining there’s going to be a referendum without them being involved and notified of the plan so the plan of course won’t work without them and how come the police haven’t arrested everybody in the SNP for, well something

        (That’ll be the plan they said didn’t exist and now it does it’s no good because nobody told them)

        You just can’t seem to achieve the *right kind* of democracy for some folk

    • grizebard says:

      There is a now well-trod argument that keeping Johnson at the helm is good for indy, because he manifests within one personage near everything that is wrong with the English Empire, while on the other hand, better he goes soon because under his corrupt misdirection he is steadily corrupting the democratic institutions of the UK state, a new development that seems to have been borrowed from the Trumpists in the US (not to mention Mussolini). It’s not clear how much that latter tendency would continue after his tenure is over, which might be a blessing all round.

      Assuming that we will have IR2 next year, maybe on balance it’s better if he were to stay, even under the very likely scenario that Paul paints. The increasing likelihood of a drop in Tory support in England might give the Tories sufficient pause not to precipitate a disastrous (for them) early “spoiler” UKGE a la Theresa May.

  7. Alex Clark says:

    Here’s a link to the Tobias Ellwood interview you mentioned, worth a watch and clearly he has no time for Johnson.

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      I like the choice of book at the back of the screen during this clip – ALL OUT WAR.

      • Alex Clark says:

        I’ve noticed it now that you pointed it out, the clip opened with a picture of bombed out buildings in Ukraine.

        • deelsdugs says:

          From the wee image I see it looks he himself is the author…take it this is a book boost for him then. A vanity project even.

  8. Dr Jim says:

    Priti Patel in what she describes as ** The Final Administrative Step** begins notifying immigrants of their *removal* to Rwanda

    One wonders if trains will be involved in this reworded definition of the *Final solution*

  9. P Harvey says:

    See Starmer & Rayner have been give guesstionaires to complete re beergate
    Unbelievable that this passes for police investigations in Tory Britain
    Hope they follow Bawris and don’t return it
    Hopefully FREE in 23 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

  10. Tam the Bam says:

    Nadine Dorries there (SKY NEWS 24) pledging her everlasting faith in The Bodger.

  11. Dr Jim says:

    I think one of the biggest successes Boris Johnson has had has been his destruction of any faith or hope the electorate might have had in all politicians, how many times have we heard *they’re all the same so why should we vote for them*, that’s a disease that Boris Johnson has infected every politician with, but it’s a disease that favours Tory style of government because the people who like that style are always the people who vote

    • grizebard says:

      All the more then “Scottish” Labour leadership’s shame that it has happily copied the same tactic here against indy, both before, during and after IR1. Depress the ill-informed, the gullible and the impatient into believing that Scotland has no hope of ever achieving anything better than the nada offered by a lame series of the transient hopeless. Thankfully though we do have an effective alternative, and it’s getting ever more obvious to most everyone.

      • Tam the Bam says:

        On the subject of Scottish (cough) Labour… anyone else noticed (or should I say..failed to notice) the less than discreet shift to favourable SLAB coverage on Scottish broadcast media?
        Looks like yer bums oot the windae Doogie!

  12. yesindyref2 says:

    I was fair gobsmacked to read about Forbes’s “brutal” spending review, though the details wen’t surprising considering previous reports of “gaps”.

    One of the things that caught my eye was getting rid of and controlling a few quangoes – I think there are way too many in Scotland today, and most of them are hot air and nothing else IMHO, with grossly overpaid chief executives who, when effectively sacked for doing nothing at all, or worse, making our lives more difficult, go round in the unvirtuous circle to another one to do nothing at ll for that one. Anyways, as always I look to the FoAI, and here you go [in a report which misses a fair few points but hey, depends on POV]:


    Whether these decisions are the right ones is for others to debate. But it is useful to see the future direction of the government’s spending plans set out more transparently than we have been used to in recent years, not least as this can set the scene for more informed discussions about budget challenges and priorities in future.“.

    The Truth shall set us free, and transparency will win Indy Ref 2 – people can take bad news with the good news, but not being treated like mushrooms.

    Very impressive.

  13. Welsh_Siôn says:

    Gawd Bless ‘er!


    Toilet humour: Roadside ‘tribute’ to Queen not what it seems

    01 Jun 2022 2 minute Read

  14. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    Notice how BritNats challenge the money set aside for next independence referendum by Scottish government..

    BUT……..silence on who they think it is that is funding Gove’s Union Unit and how much THEY are spending …….

    Are we all to believe not one penny is being spent on that ?

    Are we to believe that tis not taxpayers money that is being used for that ?

    Is that because they all see it, as in their (non) Union, as a justified cause to try and save against OUR cause for independence .

    And how much has been spent by the UK government on Brexit….say spent…mean wasted ….in that since Brexit can see no benefit that warrants such an obscene amount of money being “spaffed up the wall” to quote Boris Johnson…AND where against all of this downturn has Brexit benefitted their UK…given their predictions and promises one would have expected Brexit to have OFFSET much of the misery that is happening…….and as for the Brexit opportunity minister Mogg well since his role announced he has gone quite silent in extoling a list of the virtues to be had via Brexit….indeed the appointment of such a minister was late to the party was it not…to the point that they knew how bad it had become so needed to create a fake position to perform a HAW HAW on non existent benefits as in concocted ones that were actually LIES……

    Then there is the Jubilee…..how much is being spent on that….for people to pack up their troubles over a holiday weekend and smile smile smile…..only then post Jubilee celebrations to have to face up to the same misery, hardship and problems that existed before and during this so called celebration….to celebrate what ?… HER and HER Governments fake country of unequals ….

    If you disliked the royal family before then to witness what is happening now will only reinforce and intensify your dislike …….I despair how subservient and compliant some people truly are.

    I want independence from the UK….but what I hear and watch via social media on all of this Jubilee nonsense makes me also wonder if I also want independence from the human race….or rather SOME of the human race. …you know which ones…..there is an ever growing list.

    • Golfnut says:

      Don’t forget organisations like the IFS, one of the largest recipients of ‘ tax payers money ‘ to produce reports for various uk gov ministries outlining how bad Scotland’s finances are.The latest from IFS gives us a £3.5 billion deficit. They were very active and very well paid for their efforts to save the union.

    • Not-My-Real-Name says:

      Rishi Sunak spent £500,000 of taxpayers’ cash on focus groups ‘to repair his image’. ….is that justifiable in the Tory cost of living crisis ?…….

      Compare and contrast……but NOT EVER if BBC or t’other rogue media.

  15. jfngw says:

    The BBC asking Kate Forbes if allocating £20m is the right thing to do during these difficult times. The BBC extracts around £3bn annually from the public during these difficult times, should we be asking the same about them, after all in reality what useful purpose for democracy do they serve.

    They are also asking ‘should we support another country in a world cup match’, no suggestion England could cede its place from HQ. It’s to be expected they always support another country in every other area, you would conclude Scotland is a basket case if all you had to rely on was their reporting.

    • Not-My-Real-Name says:

      Indeed jfngw…..when I heard Souness on Scotland v Ukraine match and his support for Ukraine over Scotland…my first thought was…and so it begins.

      Now the BBC and t’others have taken up what he started….and if Scots disagree that will then be presented as #ScotNatsBad….see THAT is how they do it….however say they, Ukraine, do progress and then perhaps meet/play England…what then will they, media and t’others, present as their argument for Ukraine to WIN that match…..or will their opinion/hopes change as per Ukraine’s opponents as in England.

      It is so predictable now that it has become desperate and pathetic…..

      • Welsh_Siôn says:

        Whilst I will support Scotland against Ukraine, it goes without saying that after that, I hope, that’s where their participation in the World Cup ends …

        Sorry, an’ all that, but you should know why …

        • Not-My-Real-Name says:

          As in Wales ???….Aye indeed….but same will happen to Wales…..as in same question if and only if Ukraine beat Scotland…..basically Sport is like politics on MSM they care not a jot about either of our countries in any international sporting competitions….they focus on but one nation……and we both know why.

          • Not-My-Real-Name says:

            My friend phoned me said nothing on lunchtime ITV news re Scotland V Ukraine match tonight BUT three separate stories on Jubilee…..if another country were playing tonight in a play off against Ukraine…as in you know who….would they, ITV News, NOT have mentioned it…..perhaps even may have mentioned it in the context of a win for you know who would be a great Jubilee present to Queenie…………with commiserations via patronising statements made to Ukraine but with excuses made by them, ITV news, that they Ukraine would only want to win the game via merit NOT sympathy…….

            NB….You CAN still both support Ukraine against Putin’s invasion of their country AND still want Scotland to win the game tonight against them….tis only BritNats and their media that is conflating the two things……pass it on

  16. Hamish100 says:

    BBC support Ukraine rather than Scotland?

    Divide and rule. Makes a change from sectarianism.

  17. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    Oh I stand corrected Mogg has announced a Brexit benefit …imperial measurements aside.

    It’s on apparent changes post Brexit to EU restrictions/regulations on Vacuum cleaners…as sent to him by an idea from a member of the public via The Sun newspaper….as I forgot that Mogg asked the Sun readers to suggest potential changes/benefits to promote as a Brexit benefit….which in itself shows how bereft of benefits there are to be listed on Brexit by those that instigated it, campaigned for it and won it…. …..thus the obvious conclusion is clearly there is NO obvious tangible benefits to Brexit ……it also clearly shows the UK government are struggling to promote and list ANY themselves so outsource to IDIOTS….as in those select few who are grossly uninformed about the EU but fully committed to isolation from foreigners, wars THEY apparently won alone and making their country great again aka the Brexit fanatics.

    The fact that people actually responded to Mogg shows also how clearly stupid and idiotic they are as Brexiteers because they themselves have as yet not deducted that for the government to have to ask THEM for Brexit benefit ideas is in itself a huge indication that there is NONE that the government itself can list or promote post Brexit……

    Brexiteers don’t do logic as their whole belief is based on feelings NOT facts…..however what WE feel based upon the FACTS we have is of no consequence…….they don’t do TRUTH as that would destroy their NON arguments and overall wrong position……they still believe waving THEIR flag makes everything better.

    • Dr Jim says:

      The only reason Mogg would know the first thing about a vacuum cleaner is if his nanny told him what one is and how maybe it would be better than the wooden brush she’s been using, which has served her well since the war but she’s 104 now, so could she have something more sir

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