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UK's Johnson faces confidence vote as MPs seek his ouster over Partygate scandal

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (File Photo)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face a confidence vote in his leadership of the ruling Conservative Party on Monday after several lawmakers submitters letters expressing dissatisfaction with his leadership in the wake of the Partygate scandal.

“The threshold of 15 percent (54 lawmakers) of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative Party has been exceeded,” the chairman of the 1922 Committee Graham Brady wrote in a note to Conservative lawmakers.

He refused to reveal when the threshold had been reached or how many letters have been submitted in protest against the sitting premier.

The letters came after a sustained period of pressure on Johnson over the Partygate scandal involving lockdown-breaching parties at Downing Street and Whitehall, for which he was fined once.

For Johnson to be ousted, half of Tory MPs plus one would need to vote against him, which is currently 180 MPs.

The vote will take place between 6 pm and 8 pm Monday in the House of Commons and an announcement is expected about an hour after the vote closes.

The development comes in the wake of serious concern by conservative lawmakers over Johnson’s inability to govern the country, which is facing the risk of recession, rising fuel and food prices, as well as strike-inflicted travel chaos in the capital London.

After John Stevenson and William Hague as the leading conservative MPs, Jesse Norman is the latest Tory MP to publicly request a confidence vote, joining more than two dozen legislators, who have openly welcomed the prospect of Johnson losing his job over the Partygate scandal.

“Recent events have served to clarify the position this country is in under your leadership, beyond any doubt; and I am afraid I can see no circumstances in which I could serve in a government led by you,” Norman said in a letter he published on Twitter.

“People are crying out for good government ... neither the Conservative Party nor this country can afford to squander the next two years adrift and distracted by endless debate about you and your leadership."

He slammed the embattled premier's leadership as “insulting” and “catastrophic” and called on him to resign.

“For you to prolong this charade by remaining in office not only insults the electorate, and the tens of thousands of people who support, volunteer, represent and campaign for our party; it makes a decisive change of government at the next election much more likely. That is potentially catastrophic for this country,” Norman said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Liz Truss backed Johnson ahead of the confidence vote saying that her "100 percent backing in today's vote" and she "strongly encourages colleagues to support him.”

“He has delivered on COVID recovery and supporting Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. He has apologized for mistakes made. We must now focus on economic growth,” she wrote on Twitter.

Finance Minister Rishi Sunak also backed the PM, hailing his leadership’s proper COVID-19 response.

“From the vaccine rollout to our response to Russian aggression, the PM has shown the strong leadership our country needs,” Sunak wrote on Twitter.

“I am backing him today and will continue to back him as we focus on growing the economy, tackling the cost of living, and clearing the Covid backlogs.”

Sunak and Truss are seen as potential successors to Johnson.

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