LONDON (AP) — A defiant British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted Wednesday that he is getting on with his job, as he faced Parliament for the first time since 41% of his own party’s lawmakers called for him to quit.
Johnson has been left teetering after surviving a no-confidence vote by Conservative Party legislators by a narrower-than-expected margin. A total of 148 of the 359 Tory lawmakers voted against him in Monday's ballot.
Johnson says he plans to move on and focus on bread-and-butter issues such as clearing national health care backlogs, tackling crime, easing a cost-of-living crisis and creating high-skilled jobs in a country that has left the European Union.
“As for jobs, I’m going to get on with mine,” he told lawmakers during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session in the House of Commons.
But Johnson’s party opponents say they have not given up on pushing him out. They fear that Johnson, his reputation tarnished by revelations of COVID-19 lockdown-breaching government parties, will doom the party to defeat in the next national election, which is due to be held by 2024.
Still, Conservative lawmakers dutifully cheered Johnson during a noisy Prime Minister’s Questions, while opponents relished the prime minister’s problems.
Opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said any Conservatives inclined to give Johnson another chance would be disappointed.
“They want him to change — but he can’t,” Starmer said.
Scottish National Party leader Ian Blackford called Johnson “a lame duck prime minister presiding over a divided party in a disunited kingdom.” And Labour lawmaker Angela Eagle asked: “If 148 of his own backbenchers don’t trust him, why on Earth should the country?”
Johnson replied that “in a long political career so far, I have of course picked up political opponents all over the place.”
But he said “absolutely nothing and no one … is going to stop us getting on and delivering for the British people.”
Jill Lawless, The Associated Press