In the past week, a defection cost his Conservative-led coalition its working majority in Parliament; lawmakers — including 21 of his fellow Conservatives — voted down his bid to plow ahead with Brexit; his own brother, Jo Johnson, stepped down from Parliament, citing a tension “between family loyalty and the national interest”; and his secretary of state for work and pensions, Amber Rudd, resigned from his cabinet and lambasted his punitive expulsion from party membership of Conservatives who had voted against him as “an assault on decency and democracy.”
The string of stinging defeats was capped Monday with his failure to obtain the votes necessary to call a snap election next month. He had hoped that positive polls promised a big victory in the election, which would allow him to shore up his support in Parliament. But to call that election, he needed the approval of two-thirds of lawmakers, or more than 430 votes. Instead, he got just 293.
“I want an election, we’re eager for an election, but as keen as we are, we are not prepared to inflict the disaster of a no-deal on our communities, our jobs, our services, or indeed our rights,” said Johnson’s counterpart in the opposition, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“Be careful,” Ian Blackford, leader of the opposition Scottish National Party, told Johnson. “You occupy the highest office in the land. And what you’re demonstrating to the people of the United Kingdom is that the law doesn’t matter.”