Despite winning a vote of confidence in his leadership, Boris Johnson’s reputation will have taken a further hit from this affair.
On Monday evening, it was confirmed he had won the vote by 211 votes in favour of having confidence, against 148 of no confidence.
If history is anything to go by, even winning such a vote does not assure a long future in office.
The last time round, Theresa May received 117 votes against when she faced a ballot on her leadership.
May won the confidence vote but then announced she would be resigning just five months later.
John Major also staved off attempts to remove him as Prime Minister in 1995, but would go on to lead the party to a heavy defeat to Labour in the 1997 general election.
And Margaret Thatcher was ultimately persuaded that she would not be able to win a second vote on her leadership, despite having seen off a challenge from Michael Heseltine.
Heavy losses for the Conservatives across the UK in the local elections will no doubt figure in the calculations of the party’s members.
And thoughts will certainly be on the next general election contest – with suggestions that a snap vote could be held as soon as next year.
Whether they think Boris Johnson can be the man to lead the Conservatives to another election victory is the big question that they face.
And for those who may want to change the leader, the question becomes – if not Johnson, then who?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak had been seen as a rising star within the party and his stock was high after setting out a series of financial measures including the furlough scheme during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But, his reputation is likely to have been bruised in the eyes of the electorate by his association with partygate, having been handed a fine for breaking the law by the Metropolitan Police.
Foreign secretary Liz Truss has also been heavily touted to become the party’s leader.
However, if Johnson was to go, the party may seek to take a different approach, with critics of the current Prime Minister also in the running for the job.
It includes Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary who finished as runner-up to Johnson in the party’s leadership contest in 2019.
Having won this vote, Johnson will be seeking to move on from the issue and aim to deliver his agenda.
However, it is unlikely that his critics will disappear into the woodwork anytime soon.
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