Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged his ministers to “draw a line” under Partygate and focus “on the issues that really matter to people in this country.” In his first council of ministers after the internal censure motion on Monday (in which 148 of his 359 deputies voted against him), the conservative leader thanked his cabinet for his support, aware of his growing weakness within the Party Conservative.

Johnson assured that Monday’s vote was “very important” because in his opinion it will serve “to leave behind the issues that our opponents are airing and focus exclusively on what we are doing to help the country move forward.” “That is what we are going to do,” stressed the conservative leader, who will make a cascade of political announcements in the coming days and is even considering the possibility of a mini-crisis to relaunch his government.

After 1,048 days in power, Johnson suffered a humiliation comparable to that of Margaret Thatcher in 1990 and Theresa May in 2018, forced to resign after being politically severely damaged by motions of no confidence. With the support of 59% of its deputies, compared to 41% who voted against, the big question is how long the “premier” can hold out in Downing Street in the face of the growing siege of the Tory rebels.

Technically, the “Tories” deputies cannot invoke a new motion of censure for another year. Several rebel MPs have however indicated their intention to “change the rules” in order to force a new vote before October, when the party’s annual conference is held in Birmingham.

The swords are therefore still high, despite the efforts of the head of Justice, Dominic Raab, to ask his co-religionists to turn the page and accept the result of 211 to 148 votes, described by himself as “a decisive victory.”

“If we look at our agenda, there are many things that unite us, and that has always been the way the Conservative Party works,” added Raab, who highlighted the different situations of Johnson and May: “In 2019 we won the most wide in 40 years whereas with Theresa May we had a ‘hung’ Parliament”.

Raab served as Johnson’s squire on his return to the political arena after Monday’s setback. The “premier” also leaned on his old ally of the Brexit campaign, Michael Gove, to relaunch “a great change agenda” in the United Kingdom, after the double impact of Partygate and galloping inflation of 9%.

Johnson stressed the need to “cut costs” of the Government, department by department, and ensure that “money is spent and invested in a prudent way.” The “premier” warned that this is the same dilemma faced by companies and families in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.

The “premier” faces the great dilemma of rewarding the loyal deputies of the hard wing of the party -which calls for the “maximization of the opportunities of Brexit and a tax cut- and placate the anger of the moderate factions, with numerous former supporters of remaining in the EU who accuse the “premier” of having broken his promises.

The most active rebel in recent hours has once again been former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, disparagingly renamed by The Daily Mail as “Theresa May in pants” and considered the mastermind behind the motion of no confidence. Hunt was the finalist in the Tory leadership contest against Johnson in 2019 and has made it very clear that he intends to run again. On Monday he made the biggest call to insurrection alleging that Johnson had left the party “without integrity, without commitment and without vision.”

Liz Truss, Ben Wallace, Nadhim Zahawi, Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid and other members of the Johnson cabinet who appear on the list of candidates have so far closed ranks with the “premier”, with the exception of Penny Mordaunt, assistant secretary of commerce and former Secretary of Defense, who has initiated a calculated demarcation.

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