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10 June 2022

Boris Johnson’s confidence vote is catastrophic for the country

A divided governing party benefits no one, except Labour.

By Andrew Marr and Phil Clarke Hill

While Boris Johnson has declared victory and is now “burbling” about measures to reunite the Conservative Party, the vote of confidence in him on Monday 6 June – and the resultant split in the Conservative party – has effectively ended the Prime Minister’s 80-seat parliamentary majority. This leaves him the leader of a minority Brexit party steered by pro-Johnson Brexiteers and ideologues.

Meanwhile, Johnson is relaunching his premiership with a cocktail of plans which are by turns untenable (tax cuts) and trivial (the return of imperial measures).

Despite the assertions of Johnson loyalists such as Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Prime Minister finds himself in a situation similar to the end of the Callaghan era in 1978. Then, the Labour government was at the end of its power and trying to deal with rising inflation, industrial action and economic hardship. As its momentum waned Margaret Thatcher presented a new vision for the country and galvanised support around her.

Can today’s Labour Party under Keir Starmer bring the same level of steely resolve and philosophical direction that would be needed to beat the Conservatives? Whether they can or not, big change is coming in British politics.

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