UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing flak for the ill-fated Downing Street party during the first COVID-19 lockdown. On top of admitting to attending the party at the Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), Johnson has also issued an apology, telling lawmakers in the House of Commons that “With hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside”. 

However, with Johnson being circled, his days at 10 Downing Street are in question. Here’s what could be next for UK’s Prime Minister. 

No confidence vote 

As per the party rules, a no-confidence would be triggered if 15% of Conservative members of parliament formally seek one in writing from Sir Graham Brady, who chairs the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers. 

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Once the vote is triggered, there is a secret ballot organized by the committee. Johnson has to secure half of the party votes, which as per current numbers turns out to be 180. If he remains in office, there can be no new motion against him for the next 12 months. 

A quiet dismissal 

The traditional way for Tory leaders to be dismissed was in closed-door meetings. This was attended by party grandees, and though this is no longer the method, a Conservative Prime Minister can still be removed via informal pressure. 

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Theresa May, who survived a no-confidence vote in December 2018, announced that she’d step down in May 2019, reportedly after meeting with Brady. He warned her that if she didn’t step down, she’d face another no-confidence motion. 


While May had the reputation for being a fighter, there is speculation among many that Johnson might not have the stomach to ride out a no-confidence voting process. 

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In that event, he might voluntarily step down and continue as a party backbencher, or find work outside the Parliamentary process as well. Of course, Johnson’s resignation would trigger a vote, during which time he could stay on as the Prime Minister or have someone take an interim position. 

Ride out the storm 

Johnson has regularly defined rules, and it remains to be seen if he could ride out this situation as well. Earlier analysis had predicted that an apology and admission would aid his process. 

True to form, Johnson has delivered a carefully worded apology, saying that he was unaware of the event being a party and thought it was work-related.