1) The rebels fall short. There is no confidence vote. Johnson escapes through the skin of his teeth
As the country celebrates the Queen’s 70th anniversary on the throne, Boris Johnson is desperately calling his MPs to try and ensure he can reach the milestone of just three years as prime minister.
Conservative MPs who want him out before then think they are very close to the magic number of 54 letters (to the committee chair Sir Graham Brady from 1922) needed to elicit a confidence vote.
But if Johnson survives next week without breaking the threshold, and then avoids a disastrous double loss in two June 23 by-elections, in Tiverton and Honiton, and Wakefield, he could survive without a confidence vote at all. He would be safe – at least until the next crisis hits.
probability Balanced, but on the unlikely side because the mood in the party is against him.
2) The rebels reach 54 letters this week, or after the June 23 midterm elections. A vote of confidence is held. Johnson wins and fights on
Most Tory MPs believe that a confidence vote is now more likely than not. The big question is when it will happen. The vote could come this week. If so, Johnson has a good chance of winning (by securing a majority of the 359 Tory MPs), in which case he could continue as prime minister.
However, if the vote takes place after the June 23 by-elections and the Tories are hammered into both, MPs think he would have a much tougher fight, as his newfound electoral toxicity would have been exposed. On the other hand, even amid the desperation of double defeat, Johnson the escapologist could still get a majority of Tory MPs because his colleagues don’t see a better leader on offer.
Another leadership challenge would not be allowed for a year. Johnson would limp, though severely weakened.
probability More likely than 1, but only just.
3) Johnson loses a confidence vote and is out. Elections for party leaders are underway
If Johnson were subjected to a confidence vote before June 23 or after, and then failed to convince a majority of the 359 Tory MPs that he was the best person to lead the party to the next general election, he would be out. lying down. A leadership competition to find a new Tory leader and Prime Minister was due to start over the summer.
probability It depends on how bad the midterm election results are for the Tories. If they are indeed very bad, it becomes at least as likely as not.