Boris Johnson claims he has delivered on ‘every single promise’
Boris Johnson claimed he “kept every single promise” as he defended and convinced his record at No. 10 conservative support the government in Monday’s vote of confidence.
The outgoing prime minister sought to brush up on his legacy, telling the Commons he had led “one of the most dynamic governments of modern times” that “overcame adversity on a scale not seen in centuries”.
Cheered on by Tory MPs, Mr Johnson said his party would soon be “merging in loyalty” around a new leader – but also hinted he would soon speak out against the Tory rebels who ousted him.
“We’ve got through Brexit and the Returners and Avengers have had to plan and bid their time,” he said, before adding: “And I will have more to say about the events of the past few weeks and months in due course.” ”
The prime minister touted his victory in the 2019 general election workwho said the Tories “sent the big blue ferret up so far they couldn’t move,” adding: “We won seats they never dreamed of losing.”
He also claimed that Sir Keir Starmer would try to overturn Brexit and bring Britain back into the EU, saying: “If he ever came to power with his hopeless coalition of Liberal Democrats and Scottish Nationalists, he would try again in a heartbeat.”
The Prime Minister also suggested Sir Keir could conspire with “the deep state” to bring the UK closer to the EU “as a prelude to our eventual return”. He urged Tory MPs to keep Brexit going, adding: “We on this side of the House are going to prove them wrong, aren’t we?”
Mr Johnson concluded by telling MPs he was “proud” of his record, adding: “We have had to make some of the darkest decisions since the war and I believe we got the big decisions right.”
Some 349 loyal MPs later voted to prop up Mr Johnson’s government for the transition before a new Tory leader is elected, with 238 largely opposition MPs voting to overthrow the government.
If the government had been defeated, it would almost certainly have triggered a general election. But a Tory rebellion seemed unlikely as the party remains leaderless and unable to take part in elections.
The wave of Tory anger at Mr Johnson from early July has largely subsided as MPs from the party squabble over Mr Johnson’s successor.
Sir Keir began his own Commons speech by accusing Mr Johnson of indulging in pure fantasy about his legacy. “The deception never stops – what a relief for the country that they finally got around to sacking him,” he said.
The Labor leader added: “He was disgraced and judged unworthy of his position and unfit for office by his peers and peers.”
Reminding Tory MPs of the recent Chris Pincher saga that sparked the Tory revolt, Sir Keir said: “He promoted someone he knew to be a sexual predator and then denied any knowledge when this inevitably went wrong.
“It’s the same pattern of behavior as he and his cronies partyed through the lockdown, denied it for months and forced his ministers to repeat those lies until he was found out.”
Sir Keir also had a pop at the Tory leadership contest after a Sky News debate due to take place on Tuesday night was cancelled. Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss declined to participate after previous TV hustings turned into public slanging matches.
The Labor leader said the debates were “so embarrassing that even the candidates are withdrawing” and likened the Tories to a Premier League team “that elope managers when they inevitably slide towards relegation”.
If the government is defeated, it will almost certainly trigger a general election, although this would require a significant number of Tory MPs to vote against the government, or at least abstain.
That seems unlikely as the party is leaderless and unable to contest an election while the initial outburst of anger at Mr Johnson has largely subsided.
Sir Keir urged Tory MPs to act, saying: “Why are they leaving him with his hands on the levers of power for eight weeks? … This is not the summer when Downing Street is occupied by a vengeful squatter mired in scandal.”
Mr Johnson began Monday afternoon’s debate by saying he had no idea why the Labor leader wanted a confidence motion.
But the speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, politely reminded him: ‘It’s actually the Government that said that [this motion] down for today.”