The prime minister’s time in No.10 is hanging in the balance today, after 54 Tory MPs handed in letters of no confidence to senior backbencher Sir Graham Brady.
More than half of the Conservative MPs (at least 180) currently sitting in parliament will need to vote against keeping Johnson in No.10 tonight before he can be ousted.
Speaking to the BBC this morning, Rees-Mogg – the government efficiency minister and ardent Johnson ally – said just one vote over this threshold would be enough to secure the prime minister’s place in Downing Street.
He said he expects Johnson to win tonight, adding that one vote is “enough”.
“This is a democracy, and in a democracy, if you win by one vote, you have won,” Rees-Mogg claimed.
He also said that Johnson’s authority would be intact even if he wins by such a tiny margin.
This bold claim can be compared to Rees-Mogg’s reaction to the confidence vote held for Theresa May, Johnson’s predecessor, back in 2018.
Speaking at a time when he did not have a role in government but was known for leading the pro-Brexit backbenchers in the commons, Rees-Mogg said that May should still resign (even though she won the vote with two-thirds of the Tory MPs’ support).
Rees Mogg told Sky News: “It’s a very bad result for the prime minister.
“If you think 163 Conservative MPs are on the payroll – ministers, PPS, vice-chairmen of the party, trade envoys – therefore of the non-payroll, the backbenchers, the prime minister lost really very heavily.
″If you’re on the payroll, you ought to resign to vote against her. But clearly, the prime minister has lost the support of the backbenchers of the Conservative Party and that is not a good position for her to be in.”
May decided to step down only six months later.
Referring back to his comments about May’s confidence vote this morning, Rees-Mogg claimed: “Theresa May couldn’t command the House of Commons, the prime minister has a majority of 80. That I think is a very important difference.”
But, he said he has since “learned from my mistakes”, and that he regretted what he said at the time.
“It was both wrong democratically and ungenerous,” he told the BBC.