Did Johnson win or lose yesterday?

The great escapologist pulled off another escape yesterday. How long with the Tories allow to continue on a path of self-destruction for them and our Country?

It’s been interesting to see that the Tory Party have come out of the No Confidence vote today as divided as they went into it. The pro-Johnson people (211) are saying it was a good win. The anti-Johnson people (148) are saying the time isn’t quite up yet but will be soon.

The fact is that this is a worse vote than that received for Theresa May in the last Tory confidence vote. Of course, the result is being looked at differently by different people. After the Theresa May vote Rees-Mogg who has more coils than a python, said that it was a bad result for her. Now this worse result for Johnson is seen as a good result by him! Do you understand how that could be? No neither do I!

It is clear Johnson has lost the majority of his backbenchers and more than 40 per cent of the whole parliamentary party. He held on because of the payroll vote – those who place clinging on to short term office rather than long-term power. Some of them are doomed to disappointment. Whatever happens the number must be up for people like ‘Mad Nads’ who have over gushed and under performed!

If Johnson doesn’t know now that he didn’t win by enough, he soon will do as the 148 become both emboldened and desperate as we get nearer to a General Election.

This is the result that Ed Davey and Keir Starmer wanted for political reasons. Keeping an unpopular person in place means votes for us. We will see that at the two by-elections on 23rd June when Labour should pick up one and we Lib Dems the other.

What this has shown quite clearly is that the Tories cannot manage themselves never mind the Country. They have flunked in the worst possible way a decision that needed to be taken and did so within a system that is almost incomprehensible. Secret letters mostly put in during a recess harks back to the19th century and not the politics of a modern Government. What was needed was a quick and clinical strike.

What the Country now has to endure is a drawn out death with a PM lurching to the right and claiming that the Government is doing all sorts of good things when the people know that our Country is getting into ever more desperate straits by the day.

At some stage, probably before Christmas either Johnson will resign because his heart isn’t in it, or the 1922 committee will get even more desperate and change the rules to allow for another contest.

Johnson and his tormentors are both victims of bad timing. His opponents triggered this confidence vote just as the consensus was forming that he would have to go, but before it had set. Who knows what would have happened if they had all waited until June 24th, the day after by-elections!?

Members of all other Parties have a morbid interest in watching the Tories self-destruct. Some in the Labour Party look back to the Corbyn era and say, “there but for the Grace of God go we!” Lib Dems look forward confidently to mopping up Tory council seats, Parliamentary by-election seats and even more parliamentary seats at the next General Election.

An army divided is an army defeated. That is certainly true of the Tories today. Of course, in Liverpool we have the opposite. Different parts of the Labour Party are lobbing missiles at each other in ever more nasty Group meetings while some have disappeared altogether and set up another left-wing Party.

All this will be helped by the ammunition that the Tories have publicly used against other. I cannot but believe that there isn’t someone in the Lib Dem and Labour HQs hoovering up quotations which will appear in good time in local and national press releases and local and national literature.

Seeing Nadine Dorries, a cabinet minister, having a go at Jeremy Hunt, now a publicly declared enemy of the prime minister, in personal and political terms is a real delight. Not least because this will come the fore whenever the Tory leadership election takes place because Hunt must be considered a contender by the 148 who have woken up in time to smell the coffee.

I have no objection to politicians from within the same Party disagreeing with each other in public. If it is done in a good debating style with information and courtesy, it is a positive for democracy and infinitely better than back room deals and stitch ups. But this is not we have seen in the past couple of months. This has been vicious and nasty in tooth and claw fight and has created a Party that might even be unleadable.

As the Guardian says today, “When he became prime minister, many thought Johnson wouldn’t last 100 days, because that was the deadline – 31 October 2019 – he had set to get Britain out of the EU. But he succeeded, winning a majority of 80 and seemed set fair for a long stint in No 10. Now the rollercoaster has dived again.

Today, he has survived as prime minister as long as Gordon Brown, nearly three years. He has to last until August to overtake Theresa May (three years and 11 days). Who would have thought, when he won the general election, that he would face that comparison?”

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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