What happens if the Prime Minister resigns? The steps if Boris Johnson resigns or is sacked - how it works

These are steps in place for if a Prime Minister resigns or is sacked during Parliament.
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Johnson was forced to make a public apology at Prime Minister's questions yesterday after an email leaked to ITV showed that an outdoor party or 'gathering', involving an invitation to up to 100 people to 'bring your own booze', was held at Downing Street during lockdown in 2020.

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Earlier this month photographic evidence of Johnson at this gathering was also leaked to the press, showing the Prime Minister drinking alcohol in the garden during the party.

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These revelations have spurred several Tory MP's to turn on the Prime Minister, declaring him unfit for office and pressuring him to resign.

This is what would happen if Boris Johnson handed in his resignation.

What happens when a Prime Minister resigns?

When a Prime Minister resigns, the events that follow depend on the context surrounding their departure.

Revelations regarding Johnson's attendance of Downing Street parties have spurred several Tory MP's to turn on the Prime Minister.Revelations regarding Johnson's attendance of Downing Street parties have spurred several Tory MP's to turn on the Prime Minister.
Revelations regarding Johnson's attendance of Downing Street parties have spurred several Tory MP's to turn on the Prime Minister.

If a PM resigns following the loss in a general election, they offer their resignation to the monarch and the winning party then forms a government.

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However, if Johnson, or any other PM was to resign during parliament, the process is far longer and follows many more processes.

Under the UK's unwritten constitution, Britain must have a Prime Minister at all times.

Therefore, a standing prime minister departing automatically triggers a leadership contest , but does not leave straight away.

The appointment of a new party leader can take up to a month and includes lots of jostling for the position.

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When the leadership contest is decided, the outgoing prime minister will go and offer their resignation to the Queen, and advise she appoints the new leader of the party as Prime Minister.

Incoming Prime Ministers usually choose to hold a general election to reinforce their power, but this is unlikely in 2022.

How would Boris Johnson be 'sacked'?

A number of Tory MPs have submitted letters of no confidence in Boris Johnson, seeking to trigger a Conservative leadership election.

A vote of no confidence is a vote in which MPs from all parties decide whether they want the government to continue.

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It has the power to trigger a general election and could see a new Prime Minister appointed.

A vote of no confidence needs a majority to pass - so it requires 54 Tory MPs to vote against the Prime Minister.

Which Tory MPs have written letters of no confidence so far?

Two MPs have publicly confirmed that they have submitted a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister, out of the 54 needed to spark a vote.

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These are North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale and leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglas Ross.

Ross' letter of no confidence is particularly significant as it has unleashed a full-scale rebellion against the PM by the Scottish Conservative Party.

More than half of the party’s 31 MPs have backed Mr Ross, including top Scottish Tories Jackson Carlaw, Murdo Fraser and Annie Wells, though they do not have a vote in the leadership process.

Baroness Ruth Davidson, former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, has made clear she also supports Ross in his decision to go against the PM.

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Former co-chairman of the Conservative Party Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has expressed her support for the removal of Mr Johnson too, tweeting:

“Every minister, parliamentarian & staffer at any #downingstreetparty must resign NOW. No ifs no buts.

“The rule of law is a fundamental value-the glue that hold us together as a nation. Once that is trashed by those in power the very essence of our democracy is at stake.”

There are several MPs suspected of filing letters in secret also, including Hazel Grove MP William Wragg and chair of Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee Caroline Nokes.

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