It has been a tumultuous 24 hours for Boris Johnson. After the news broke on Monday morning that the required 54 letters had been sent in to the Conservative Party’s 1922 committee by Tory MPs, a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister was held. With 211 votes in favour and 148 against, Johnson has managed to maintain his position as Prime Minister for the immediate period. But with more than 40% of Tory MPs declaring no-confidence, this is anything but a victory for him.
As we said when the Sue Gray report into the #partygate scandal was launched, this government is one: “defined by corruption, presiding over a cost of living disaster, and one that has all but completely lost the confidence of the majority of working class people in Britain.
This has been true of even Tory voters and royalists, who by and large see Johnson as “untrustworthy” in the polls, and as was demonstrated by the waves of booing he was met with at the Jubilee celebrations. Although he has clung onto power once again, this crumbling of support is a far more telling sign of Johnson’s fortunes.
Even within his own party, his mandate to govern is completely undermined. In fact, more Tory MPs have indicated no-confidence in Johnson than did Theresa May in 2019, or Thatcher in 1989 only months before she stepped down. Even Johnson’s slim majority in this vote by no means indicates overall support.
Reports in the last few weeks from various MPs have highlighted that there is also little confidence in any potential replacement for Johnson. The Conservative Party is riven by splits and crises over state spending, over #partygate, and other issues. And following the spectacular fall from grace of chancellor Rishi Sunak, there is no obvious successor waiting in the wings. Johnson himself is propped up only by the fact that his party is in just as much disarray as the government itself. But with the Tories headed for disaster at the upcoming byelections later this month, his days still seem to be numbered.
Throughout Johnson’s time as Prime Minister, he has done everything possible to maintain his shaky grip on power. He will aim to solidify his rule following this result, against a Conservative Party that is currently unable to remove him, although it seems unlikely that he will be able to do this
Likewise, despite confident statements from Labour about being able to “get Britain back on track” they offer no route to removing Johnson from office until 2024 in the next general election, and have no real alternative on offer even then. But working class and young people cannot afford to allow Johnson to continue clinging on in office. We cannot and should not wait until 2024 to see the change we need.
We are faced with a Tory Party in one of the deepest crises in its entire history, and one that is on a cliff-edge. If we want to see the back of them, the only remaining option is to organise ourselves to give them a final push.
The national demonstration of the Trades Union Congress on 18 June presents an opportunity for exactly that, as part of a wave of struggle against the disastrous cost of living crisis that this government has overseen, including strikes by rail workers and communication workers. There needs to be the development of a political alternative – a new mass left party based on struggle. We urgently need to build a socialist alternative to Johnson, the Tories and the capitalist system as a whole. If you agree, join us!