Boris Johnson’s no-confidence vote: Raab urges rebels to respect result as former leader says PM should quit – live
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Boris Johnson’s no-confidence vote: Raab urges rebels to respect result as former leader says PM should quit – live

Latest updates: William Hague, former Tory leader, says Johnson’s position is ‘completely untenable’

Rebels warn Boris Johnson rules could be changed to allow another challenge

Rebel Conservatives have given Boris Johnson until the party conference to change direction or they warn rules could be altered to allow another challenge, my colleague Jessica Elgot reports.

Good morning. We like to think that elections and votes can resolve political disputes, and provide an element of closure. It is one of the reasons journalists cover them so intensely. But, of course, sometimes they don’t, and last night’s no-confidence ballot in Boris Johnson’s leadership is a classic example. Tory MPs hoped that, one way or another, it would terminate the crisis. Yet it hasn’t, and Johnson’s dysfunctional government psychodrama is back for another season.

The prime minister won it with 59 per cent, that is actually more than he got in terms of support when he was elected leader of the Conservative party.

But we have had that vote now, I think it was the prerogative of those calling for it to have it, the Prime Minister won it clearly, he won it by 63 votes … and now the most important thing I think is to respect that result and to move forward.

While I never faced a vote of no confidence in my four years as opposition leader, I would have regarded my position as completely untenable if more than a third of my MPs had ever voted against me. John Major was entirely ready to resign in 1995 if he had not won the support of a very large majority of the party. If, with all the power of the party leadership, all the years of acquaintance with MPs, all the knowledge they have of your abilities and plans, you still cannot crush a vote of no confidence by a commanding margin, then not only is the writing on the wall but it is chiselled in stone and will not wash away …

No individual in politics matters more than the health of our democracy. That health depends on voters having faith in the integrity of leaders even if they disagree with them, respect for how government is conducted, and a competitive choice at a future election. The votes just cast show that a very large part of the Conservative party cannot see Johnson providing that.

The nature of their revolt has an important bearing on what happens next. They are not a faction that has been seen off, or an alternative policy direction that has been defeated. They represent instead a widespread feeling, a collapse of faith, that almost certainly cannot be repaired or reversed. For Johnson, continuing to lead the party after such a revolt will prove to be unsustainable.

While Johnson has survived the night, the damage done to his premiership is severe. Words have been said that cannot be retracted, reports published that cannot be erased, and votes have been cast that show a greater level of rejection than any Tory leader has ever endured and survived. Deep inside, he should recognise that, and turn his mind to getting out in a way that spares party and country such agonies and uncertainties.

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