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Boris Johnson survives — for now

Boris Johnson survived a Conservative Party no-confidence vote. Still, the bruising he took from his fellow Tories and his falling fortunes among British voters do not inspire confidence that the United Kingdom's prime minister is out of political trouble. The specific issue that triggered the snap intraparty plebiscite is what Brits refer to as "partygate" — Johnson's serial violations of his own government's COVID-lockdown rules to hold boozy parties at No. 10 Downing Street, the prime minister's residence.

The hypocrisy to the public and Parliament was glaring, especially as Johnson's government appeared to be behind the curve in responding to the pandemic. Brits' disappointment in their leader is reflected in falling poll numbers.

This week's vote itself may create its own momentum. Indeed, while previous Conservative prime ministers have also weathered no-confidence votes, most haven't stayed long. That includes Margaret Thatcher and Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May, who performed better than Johnson's 211-148 no-confidence vote total. But within months, May was out, a fate that may await Johnson, particularly as ambitious party members sense his weakness.

Strength, however, characterizes Johnson's leadership on Ukraine. He's been staunchly supportive of the beleaguered nation in its existential fight against Russia, sending arms to the front and going to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a show of personal solidarity. Even though the U.K. is no longer part of the European Union, it's still a cornerstone of NATO. Johnson has been a leader on Ukraine among fellow European prime ministers, presidents, and chancellors.

Doing the right thing regarding the U.S.-U.K. "special relationship" would likely extend beyond Johnson, too.

The continuity on the essential support of Ukraine and the enduring partnership between America and Britain should reassure citizens and leaders in both countries. But a turbulent world may become more so as Johnson tries to shore up the shaky confidence his colleagues and country have in him.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Managing Editor Izaskun E. Larrañeta, staff writer Erica Moser and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.


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