UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face a confidence vote on Monday night after dozens of Conservative Party MPs withdrew their support for his leadership.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, confirmed that he had received the 54 letters from Conservative politicians needed to trigger a vote.
The vote – by secret ballot – will take place at Westminster on Monday between 6pm and 8pm, with the count to take place immediately afterwards.
To oust the Prime Minister, however, the rebels will need 180 MPs. Allies of Mr Johnson made it clear that he is determined to fight to stay on.
Critics of Mr Johnson have seized on the Sue Gray report into lockdown-busting parties and the Prime Minister’s response to it as the trigger for submitting letters calling for a vote.
But discontent within the Conservative Party runs far wider, with concerns about the burden of taxation and Mr Johnson’s style of leadership also causing unease.
What are the Conservative rules for a vote of no confidence?
Fifty-four letters of no confidence from Conservative MPs, 15 per cent of the parliamentary party, were needed to trigger the vote.
Mr Brady has received a steady stream of letters in recent days as MPs spent time in their constituencies consulting local parties about their position.
He announced on Monday morning that the threshold had been reached.
Mr Brady said he had informed Mr Johnson on Sunday that the threshold of 15 per cent of the parliamentary party calling for a vote had been passed.
“I have followed the rules that we have in place. I notified the Prime Minister yesterday and we agreed the timetable for the confidence vote to take place,” he said.
“He shared my view, which is also in line with the rules that we have in place, that that vote should happen as soon as it could reasonably take place and that would be today.”
What happens next?
At least 50 per cent of MPs must vote “no confidence” for the Prime Minister to lose.
But even if Mr Johnson survives the vote on Monday evening, his leadership could be fatally undermined if a significant number of MPs vote against him.
How does the leadership contest work?
If Mr Johnson is voted out or forced to resign, a leadership contest to replace him as the head of the party would take place — although he is likely to remain as Prime Minister until a successor is in place.
The contest takes place in two stages.
In the first stage, Conservative MPs put themselves forward as candidates.
All party MPs then vote in a series of rounds to reduce the number of candidates until only two remain.
In the second stage of the contest, the two remaining candidates are put to a vote of Conservative Party members.
Mr Johnson won the leadership contest in 2019 against Jeremy Hunt, following Theresa May’s resignation.