How does a vote of confidence work? What is the 1922 Committee?

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Conservative Party MPs will take part in a vote of confidence tonight, which will decide the future of incumbent leader Boris Johnson. The vote was triggered after at least 54 politicians – the minimum number required – informed the 1922 Committee chairman, Sir Graham Brady, of their lack of support for the Prime Minister.

How does a vote of confidence work?

The rules for a vote of confidence state that a minimum of 15 percent of Tory politicians must submit a letter of no confidence to Sir Graham.

At present, the Tories have 359 MPs, which means at least 54 had to submit letters.

A vote of confidence is essentially a poll where members of a political party can vote to remove the leader of their group.

Tonight’s vote will be held between 6pm and 8pm, with ballots being counted immediately afterwards.

For Mr Johnson to lose the vote, a majority – at least 180 – of Tory MPs will need to cast ballots against him.

Voting is conducted in person and remains secret even after all entries are accounted for.

If an MP is away from Westminster, they can nominate a colleague to vote on their behalf as a proxy.

Under party rules, a leader who wins a confidence vote is safe from such a challenge for 12 months.

However, the rules can easily be changed, and it does not bring safety.

The vote is likely to be held in a large committee room, in the Palace of Westminster, usually used for meetings of the 1922 Committee.

Originally, the Committee got its name from a meeting of Conservative lawmakers, that took place in 1922.

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Its actions saw the end of the coalition government at the time, and the group has gone on to play a decisive role in Tory leadership ever since.

Today, the 1922 Committee is used to refer to a line of communication between Conservative leadership and rank-and-file MPs.

MPs may write letters to the chairman to state that they believe a change in party leadership is needed, known as letters of no confidence.

Letters have been tabled against Mr Johnson’s leadership after new developments in the Partygate scandal.

Last month, Sue Gray released her report into Government lockdown parties, which detailed how Mr Johnson had attended eight of the 12 gatherings she investigated.

The PM was only fined by the Metropolitan Police for attending one such event – his birthday party in June 2020.

Despite growing pressure, Mr Johnson has refused to resign and maintained his focus on steering the UK through the cost of living crisis and Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Downing Street has also said Mr Johnson “welcomes the opportunity to make his case to MPs”, and tonight’s vote is “a chance to end months of speculation and allow the Government to draw a line and move on”.

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