Vote of no confidence: what is the 1922 Committee and how many votes are needed for a leadership election?

A number of Tory MPs have written letters of no confidence to the 1922 Committee.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 1:18 pm

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

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This comes after 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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But what is a vote of no confidence and how would it affect the Prime Minister?

Here is what you need to know about the 1922 Committee and votes of no confidence.

What is a vote of no confidence?

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

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

MPs write letters to the 1922 Committee to express their discontent with the current Prime Minister.

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

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

What is the 1922 Committee?

The 1922 Committee is the parliamentary group of the Conservative Party in the UK House of Commons.

It is made up of backbench MPs who hold the power to call a vote of no confidence in a Prime Minister or trigger a leadership election.

Currently the committee chair is Sir Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham and Sale West.

William Wragg and Nusrat Ghani also serve as vice-chairs, Bob Blackman and Gary Sambrook serve as executive secretaries and Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown serves as treasurer.

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.

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.

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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