On Monday morning, June 6, Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee of the Conservative Party, announced that he had received the 54 letters of no-confidence in the PM Boris Johnson required to trigger a ballot of the whole Parliamentary Party.

Sir Brady announced that the ballot would take place later that day. If over 180 Conservative Members of Parliament voted no-confidence, this would have immediately triggered the removal of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson, according to the source who was privy to the pressures made by No 10 Downing Street ahead of the vote, “demanded a photo of the filled-in ballot paper with a vote of confidence in him.”

This would have broken the democratic principle of the 1922 committee confidence vote being a secret ballot, the 1922 committee source told The Pavlovic Today.

If this “anti-democratic behavior” happened in any other country around the world, “we’d be up in arms about it,” said another Conservative MP.

If everyone voting confidence in the Prime Minister took a photo of their ballot, then by default, Johnson would have known exactly who voted against him, whether they openly declared their vote or not.

Reacting to the pressure placed on them by No 10 Downing Street, MPs had come to the 1922 committee to say they were “under pressure to take photographs of their vote” according to a member of the government who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Coincidentally, before the ballot on Monday, John Penrose MP resigned as Boris Johnson’s anti-corruption tsar and stated in a televised interview that he would be voting “no-confidence” in Boris Johnson later that day.

Shortly after, the rules of the 1922 committee ballots were changed to protect the integrity of the secret ballot.

ENJOYING THIS ARTICLE ABOUT NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE? HERE’S MORE

The last-minute rule change thwarted Number 10’s plans, and for the first time in history, on entering the room for a secret vote, Conservative MPs had to hand over their phones before they were handed their ballot papers. The phones were returned to MPs immediately after the ballots went into the ballot boxes.

According to our source in the UK Parliament, this was “unprecedented” and was due to Number 10 trying to force MPs on the payroll to “prove they voted confidence in the Prime Minister” by demanding they take a photo of their completed ballot paper on their phone.”

If this “anti-democratic behavior” happened in any other country around the world, “we’d be up in arms about it,” said another Conservative MP.

All 359 Conservative MPs took part in the ballot. Despite Johnson winning the ballot by 211 vote for him he was shocked that 148 Conservative MPs voted no-confidence in him.

Boris Johnson’s authoritarian streak

Boris Johnson’s authoritarian streak became visible last year when he tried to “organize a coup” of the 1922 committee by getting “his patsy” MP Heather Wheeler to replace Sir Graham Brady.

“That was defeated, but that was when he started trying to take over,” a member of the 1922 committee told The Pavlovic Today. As Wheeler’s attempt to take over from Sir Graham Brady went down to the wire at the ballot box, Johnson rewarded her by putting her back into his Whips office when the coup failed.

06/06/2022. London, United Kingdom. Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks on the phone with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from his office in 10 Downing Street. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

“I’m sure many previous Prime Ministers would have liked to place a person loyal to them to chair the 1922 Committee. It must remain independent for the reasons like we had on Monday when the committee prevented perversion of the secret ballot,” a member of the 1922 committee told the Pavlovic Today.

Last Christmas, Johnson tried to get rid of the current Parliamentary standards independent commissioner Kathryn Stone. He attempted to overtake the parliamentary standards and get his people in there.

“I could see that with trying to take control of the 1922 Committee, and then trying to take control of parliamentary standards. Johnson was neutralizing everything that could possibly be a threat to him,” said a Conservative MP.

PM Boris Johnson is exhibiting anti-democratic behavior common to dictators. What is the UK Parliament turning into under his premiership?

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Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...

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