BORIS Johnson survived a confidence vote last night as 211 Conservative MPs backed his leadership compared to 148 votes against him.

The secret ballot was triggered after at least 15 per cent of the parliamentary party submitted letters of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady, who chairs the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs.

A total of 59 per cent of Conservative MPs voted in his favour last night, compared to the 63 per cent who supported Theresa May in her confidence vote in 2018.

Despite more than four in 10 of his MPs voting to remove him as leader, the prime minister described the outcome as “an extremely good, positive, conclusive, decisive result which enables us to move on, to unite, and to focus on delivery”.  

Somerset has six sitting Conservative MPs: Rebecca Pow (Taunton Deane), Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater and West Somerset), Marcus Fysh (Yeovil), James Heappey (Wells), John Penrose (Weston-super-Mare), and Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset).

David Warburton, who represents Somerton and Frome, has had the Conservative whip suspended so is not currently a member of the parliamentary party.

Mr Heappey and Mr Rees-Mogg – who both hold ministerial positions within Mr Johnson’s government – voted in support of the prime minister.

Bridgwater Mercury: Boris Johnson speaks after the vote of confidence yesterday. Picture: PABoris Johnson speaks after the vote of confidence yesterday. Picture: PA

Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has confirmed voting against Mr Johnson’s leadership, while the votes of Ms Pow and Mr Fysh are not known.

Mr Penrose has also not confirmed which way he voted, but yesterday he tweeted a public letter - written before the vote was announced - calling for the prime minister to “stand aside”.

The County Gazette contacted Mr Fysh for a comment today but received no response.

James Heappey, Wells:

Armed forces minister James Heappey confirmed on Monday afternoon his intention to support the prime minister in the confidence vote because the “country needs stability”.

Mr Heappey tweeted: “I’ve been uncomfortable with much of what’s emerged about events in No 10 during Covid lockdowns.

“But the UK faces enormous economic and security challenges that can’t be wished away. This is time for government to deliver not squabble amongst itself. I’ll be supporting the PM this evening.

“We can’t keep changing prime ministers between elections.

“The public returned a majority Conservative government because they subscribed to PM’s vision of a levelled-up post-Brexit Britain.

“There are two years left in this Parliament to deliver that and we must work hard to do so. It’s on that record that we should hope to be judged at election.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg, North East Somerset:

Mr Rees-Mogg, who is the minister for Brexit opportunities and government efficiency, voted to back the prime minister.

The PA news agency reported yesterday evening that Mr Rees-Mogg and policing minister Kit Malthouse confirmed supporting Mr Johnson in the vote, citing his record on Covid and Ukraine.

Before the vote, Mr Rees-Mogg told Sky News winning by one vote would have been “enough” for Mr Johnson to have a mandate to continue as prime minister.

He said: “One is enough. That’s the rule in a democracy – if you win by one you win.”

After Mrs May’s confidence vote in 2018, Mr Rees-Mogg said she had suffered a “terrible result” and “ought to go and see the Queen and urgently resign”.

Mr Rees-Mogg said last night he was “mistaken” to make those comments.

He added: “I was wrong on two grounds. One is that democracy requires that one is enough, and the other is that it was ungenerous.”

Bridgwater Mercury: Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger. Picture: PA WireBridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger. Picture: PA Wire

Ian Liddell-Grainger, Bridgwater and West Somerset:

Mr Liddell-Grainger voted by proxy against the prime minister last night.

He could not attend the ballot in person because he is co-chairing the Africa Regional Conference in Sierra Leone.

Before the vote, Mr Liddell-Grainger said: “I have already made my view clear both to the prime minister himself and to the chairman of the 1922 committee, a member of which will be submitting my vote.

“I believe he should step down for the good of the country.

“That is the only way to resolve this intolerable situation which is damaging both the government’s ability to govern and the UK’s reputation on the world stage.

“And even if the prime minister survives tonight, my views on his position and the step I believe he should take will remain unchanged.”

John Penrose, Weston-super-Mare

Weston-super-Mare John Penrose resigned as Mr Johnson’s anti-corruption champion yesterday and called for him to “stand aside”.

Mr Penrose wrote a letter to the prime minister and claimed it is “pretty clear” he broke the ministerial code over his leadership.

His letter addressed his concerns over a letter Mr Johnson wrote to Lord Geidt, his independent advisor on the ministerial code, about Sue Gray’s report into ‘Partygate’.

Mr Penrose says Ms Gray’s report referenced “failures of leadership and judgement”.

His letter ended: “As a result, I'm afraid it wouldn't be honourable or right for me to remain as your anti-corruption champion after reaching this conclusion, nor for you to remain as prime minister either.

“I hope you will now stand aside so we can look to the future and choose your successor.”

Mr Penrose became the prime minister's anti-corruption champion in December 2017 and was reappointed to the role in July 2019.

Rebecca Pow, Taunton Deane

On Tuesday evening, Rebecca Pow MP provided the following statement: “Following last night’s vote of confidence in the prime minister, I believe it’s important that we now pull together, deliver for the country and turn our focus to the economy, jobs and skills, cost of living, further support for Ukraine and the new era for sustainable food production & food security with nature recovery.

“I continue to support the Government in fulfilling these ambitions.”