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James Forsyth

Tonight’s vote won’t end the Tory leadership question

Unless Boris Johnson loses, the fight will only intensify

Tonight's vote won't end the Tory leadership question
Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 committee (Credit: Getty Images)
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There’s an odd amount of unanimity in Tory circles about what is going to happen today. The precise numbers people are speculating about do vary, but there is a general sense that Boris Johnson will win this vote yet not by enough to put the leadership question to bed. The rebels, many of whom have now burnt their boats on the beach, will keep coming and everything will be about if not when the 1922 committee will change the rules to allow another vote.

There is a chance that the consensus is wrong. Johnson has still to address MPs and that could shift opinion either way. Then, there is the ConservativeHome poll suggesting the majority of its member panel think Tory MPs should oust Johnson, which may sway some voters. Finally, there is the fact that the No. 10 operation to shore up Johnson’s position appears to have taken its eye off the ball last week and has had to play catch up today – and by agreeing to a ballot this evening has left itself little time to do that.

There are a few hours to wait until the result now. But it would be a surprise if tonight settled the leadership question.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is political editor of The Spectator.

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