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What is the ‘pork pie plot’ and what does it mean for Boris Johnson?

Two polls in the final week recommend as many as two-thirds of voters need Johnson to resign.

It’s too quickly to inform.

One issue which will work in his favor is that the technique of eliminating a sitting Conservative British prime minister is pretty difficult.

Prime ministers aren’t elected immediately by the public, in fact — Brits vote for their native member of Parliament, and the chief of the largest celebration in Parliament turns into prime minister. The United Kingdom would not have to carry one other parliamentary election earlier than 2024, so there is no manner the common voter on the avenue can boot Johnson out now.

Then why all this discuss him dealing with a confidence vote?

The normal public could not have the ability to vote Johnson out of workplace, however Conservative lawmakers can. Rumors are flying round Westminster about backbench Conservatives sending letters of no confidence to Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee.

And on Wednesday, as Johnson ready for the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament, one Conservative MP dramatically defected to the opposition Labour celebration. Christian Wakeford has been overtly vital of Johnson in latest days, calling the scandal “embarrassing” in a January 12 tweet. “How do you defend the indefensible? You can’t!,” Wakeford remarked.

What does that mean? What’s the 1922 Committee?

This is the group of Conservative backbenchers — workaday lawmakers who aren’t in the authorities as ministers. Graham Brady is the long-standing chairman of the group.

Under Conservative celebration guidelines, if MPs need to do away with their chief, they submit a confidential letter of no confidence to the chair, who retains them secret, not even revealing what number of letters have been submitted.

Letters might be withdrawn after they’ve been handed in, so the quantity could continuously be shifting — taking place in addition to up.

When 15% of Conservative lawmakers have submitted letters, it triggers a vote of confidence amongst all Conservative lawmakers.

There are at the moment 359 Conservative MPs after Wakeford’s defection, which implies it takes 54 letters to set off a no-confidence vote, and then 180 votes in opposition to Johnson to take away him from workplace.

Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May went by means of this agony in 2018 — MPs submitted sufficient letters to set off a confidence vote in her, however when the vote got here, she survived it.

On paper, at the very least, defeating a no-confidence vote strengthens a main minister, as a result of it means one other problem can’t be launched for 12 months. But in observe, going by means of the course of, even when the prime minister wins, tends to be deadly. May was out of workplace only a 12 months after beating again her celebration rise up.

Who turns into Prime Minister if Johnson loses a Conservative celebration no-confidence vote?

The Conservative celebration would resolve. It wouldn’t spark a brand new nationwide parliamentary election — all present lawmakers would keep in workplace.

The present Deputy Prime Minister is Dominic Raab, however that does not mean he would turn into prime minister if Johnson is voted out.

Instead, the Conservative celebration would launch its personal difficult course of for selecting a brand new chief, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss considered amongst the prime contenders.

How many letters have been submitted?

Only Graham Brady is aware of.

Part of the cause Brady has been chair of the 1922 Committee for so lengthy is his discretion — he by no means reveals what number of letters he has in his secure.

But the Westminster rumor mill is in overdrive this week. The newest suggestion is that an effort by Johnson loyalists to tamp down rise up amongst newer MPs elected in 2019 went disastrously improper, prompting a brand new wave of letters to the 1922 Committee.

Is that the ‘Pork Pie Plot?’

Yes. The British press is rife with hypothesis that the MP for Rutland & Melton, Alicia Kearns, hosted a gathering of discontented Conservative backbenchers this week. That constituency is house to the well-known Melton Mowbray pork pie. It’s most likely merely an odd coincidence that “pork pie” is Cockney rhyming slag for “lie” — simply what Boris Johnson is so typically accused of doing.

Sarah Dean in London, Niamh Kennedy in Dublin, Ireland and Amy Cassidy in Glasgow contributed to this report.

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