BRIDGWATER MP Ian Liddell-Grainger believes Boris Johnson must change the way he acts and introduce “some truly beneficial new policies” after winning a confidence vote last night.

The prime minister overcame the confidence ballot last night with 211 Conservative MPs (59 per cent) voting in his favour compared to 148 MPs voting against him. 

Mr Liddell-Grainger, who represents Bridgwater and West Somerset, was one of the Tory MPs who voted against the prime minister.

He is currently co-chairing the African Regional Conference in Sierra Leone so voted by proxy last night

The vote of confidence was triggered when at least 15 per cent of Conservative MPs (54) wrote letters of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbenchers.

Discontent among Conservative MPs in his leadership grew in the wake of the 'Partygate' scandal and because of his economic policies and the Government's  “ugly” plans to send migrants to Rwanda.

Somerset County Gazette: Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger. Picture: UK ParliamentBridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger. Picture: UK Parliament

Mr Liddell-Grainger said this morning: “However he may choose to portray it, this was a serious shot across his bows from a party which has had enough of being dragged down by the revelations of what was taking place in Downing Street while the rest of the country was under legal lockdown.

“The prime minister has won a second chance to prove he is up to the job - even though there are clearly very many who believe he isn’t. He now has a few brief months to attempt to redeem himself. 

“Those of us who really have our fingers on the pulse have been only too aware of the damage that has been inflicted on the Conservative Party, on the Government, and on the UK’s international reputation as a result of the hierarchy deciding the anti-Covid regulations somehow didn’t apply to them and proceeding to flout them.”

He added: “It is going to require a radical change of course in the way the prime minister acts - and some truly beneficial new policies - if we are to have any hope of repairing that damage and restoring the respectability of the current administration.”

The last Conservative prime minister to face a confidence vote was Theresa May in 2018.

She secured the support of 63 per cent of her MPs compared to Mr Johnson's 59 per cent - but Mr Johnson said the result was “an extremely good, positive, conclusive, decisive result”.

He said it will enable “us to move on, to unite and to focus on delivery, and that is exactly what we are going to do”.

Mr Johnson has received support from members of his Cabinet, including foreign secretary Liz Truss and chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Mr Sunak said: “The PM has won the confidence vote and now it’s time to move forward.”

But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has described Mr Johnson as “utterly unfit for the great office he holds”.

He said: “They (Conservative MPs) have ignored the British public and hitched themselves and their party firmly to Boris Johnson and all he represents.”

The Liberal Democrats - who took control of Somerset Council from the Conservatives last month - are looking ahead to the people of Tiverton and Honiton ‘speaking for Britain’ in an upcoming by-election.