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The Liberal Democrat leader has warned he could force through a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson in the House of Commons after last night’s attempt. Sir Ed is hoping that the 148 Conservative members of Parliament who don’t have confidence in the current Prime Minister will vote with the Liberal Democrats and other opposition parties. Speaking to Kay Burley on Sky News, Sir Ed said: “I think there should be a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, Liberal Democrats are tabling a motion of no confidence in Boris Johnson and, if it can be debated, I hope a lot of those 148 MPs who don’t have confidence in the Prime Minister will vote with the Liberal Democrats and other opposition parties so we can remove this Prime Minister.”
The Liberal Democrat leader also made a comment about the cost of living crisis for families and pensioners.
Sir Ed said: “There are millions of people out there, families and pensioners, who are suffering, they are facing a summer of discontent with rising prices, cost-of-living crisis, energy crisis and now the travel and holiday crisis, we need to see this Prime Minister gone and that is why Liberal Democrats will put forward a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister today.”
It comes as Mr Johnson promised to cut taxes and drive down the cost of Government after a wounding revolt by Tory MPs put his long-term future in doubt.
The Prime Minister thanked Cabinet colleagues for their efforts to support him during the confidence vote process, which saw more than four in 10 Tory MPs say they had lost faith in his leadership.
In an attempt to address criticism of his economic policies, Mr Johnson said the “fundamental Conservative instinct” was to allow people to decide how to spend their money, urging Cabinet ministers to cut costs.
He said “delivering tax cuts” would help deliver “considerable growth in employment and economic progress”.
Despite Mr Johnson’s attempts to draw a line under questions about his leadership, critics warned that the political crisis was not over after 41% of his MPs said they no longer had confidence in him.
Tory MPs voted by 211 to 148 in support of the Prime Minister, but the scale of the opposition was greater than that seen in 2018 when Theresa May faced a confidence vote.
She was ultimately forced out within months.
Opening a Cabinet meeting in Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: “We are able now to draw a line under the issues that our opponents want to talk about.”
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That included focusing on his “levelling up” agenda to address regional inequality, measures to help deal with the rising cost of living and improvements to public services.
But he asked ministers to “make sure that you’re thinking the whole time about cutting the costs of government, about cutting the costs that business has to face and of course cutting the costs that everybody else faces, families up and down the country”.
Reforms to regulations could help cut costs in areas such as energy, transport or housing, Mr Johnson said, telling ministers “there is ample scope for us to get out of people’s way and to do things better”.
He told ministers: “Over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to ask everybody to come forward with ways in which we cut costs, drive reform, and make sure that we understand that in the end it is people who have the best feel for how to spend their own money rather than the government or the state. And that is our fundamental, Conservative instinct.”
Allies have rallied round Mr Johnson, but former Tory leader Lord Hague said “the damage done to his premiership is severe” and he should quit rather than prolong the agony.
Mr Johnson’s authority faces further blows with tricky by-elections on June 23 in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and Tiverton and Honiton in Devon.
But Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab sought to play down the impact of potential losses in the two Tory-held seats, claiming “governments of the day often lose by-elections to go on to win them at a general election”.
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