Boris on brink: The four ways PM could be ousted explained

Boris: ‘Don’t insult our intelligence’ says Nassar

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Munira Mirza, arguably the Prime Minister’s closest adviser who has worked with him since his time as Mayor of London, was one of five top advisors to resign last week. Her departure would have left Mr Johnson with “more sorrow than Mary did watching Christ on the cross”, one insider revealed and came in response to the Jimmy Savile “slur” he used against Sir Keir Starmer in PMQs. While Downing Street has spun the exodus as part of plans to overhaul Number 10, the PM’s position is becoming increasingly untenable.

Will Boris Johnson resign?

The Prime Minister has not indicated any intention of resigning from

his post yet and has publicly asked politicians questioning whether he would do so to wait for the results from the Metropolitan Police investigation.

In private, he has told aides he will “fight” any future no-confidence votes and reportedly re-recruited the team that helped him win the leadership race in 2019.

Without a resignation, the responsibility falls to his allies or the opposition to remove him, and they have several options open to them. has explored the four potential tasks they could take and the speed with which they could have Mr Johnson out of Number 10.

Vote of no-confidence (Conservative)

The Prime Minister’s support network within the Conservative party has crumbled in recent weeks.

Growing discontent has manifested as no-confidence votes, which some Tory Parliamentary members have handed to the 1922 Committee.

So far, 14 have publicly declared sending one to committee chair Sir Graham Brady.

But a growing number may have delivered theirs under the radar, and those close to the PM fear it could be as high as 45.

They need 54 to trigger a no-confidence vote, and rebels need another 126 MPs – to a total of 180 – to force Mr Johnson out.

A successful vote would oust the Prime Minister, but not the party, leaving members to elect a new leader.

At present, there is no timeline for when this could take place, as the public is still waiting for news from Sir Graham.

Motion of no-confidence (Parliament)

If Tory politicians fail to reach the letters required, opposition leader Sir Keir can call for a no-confidence vote of his own.

The Labour leader can test the Government with a “motion” of no confidence in Parliament.

These allow parties in the House of Commons to decide whether the Prime Minister and his Cabinet should stay on.

A simple majority in the lower house would demand Government resignations – including one from Mr Johnson – or trigger a general election.

In the latter case, the Conservative Party would risk losing its majority.

Mr Johnson gave the party an 80-seat majority in 2019, allowing his Government to pass legislation with little opposition.

As such, the Prime Minister would likely receive little opposition in a motion of no confidence, and it may have the unintended effect of uniting Tories behind him.

The Met Police investigation

Top civil servant Sue Gray issued her report “update” on February 1, which included a summary of her findings without attached evidence.

She could not provide a complete report due to the Metropolitan Police, which had announced an investigation into the alleged parties at Downing Street the week before.

In a statement, police commissioner Cressida Dick said the force was investigating “a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years”.

The investigation centres on whether the events broke Covid rules established between 2020 and 2021.

The sanction for breaching lockdown, as with other cases, is a “fixed penalty notice”, and Mr Johnson has promised to reveal whether he receives one.

If he does, while it is not a criminal conviction, it will likely increase demand for him to resign.

Police have not provided a timescale for the inquiry but have pledged to have it completed “within a year”.

The Queen

The most remote action on this list is in the hands of Queen Elizabeth II, who recently celebrated 70 years on the throne.

The Queen is likely acutely aware of the crisis Mr Johnson faces, as she keeps a keen eye on “Westminster gossip”, one insider revealed.

And while her power is primarily ceremonial, she could, theoretically, remove a Prime Minister from office.

Robert Hazell, a professor at University College London’s Constitution Unit, previously told The Guardian it would be possible if Mr Johnson resisted a vote of no confidence.

The monarch could step in if the Prime Minister “refused to resign” he told the publication.

But this would likely only happen if the House of Commons had already “indicated who should be appointed as prime minister in his place”.

The Queen has remained strictly politically neutral during most of her reign, and the last time a monarch removed a PM was in 1834.

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