Can Boris Johnson be forced out?

STORY: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson clings to power following the resignation of ministers who said he was not fit to govern and with a growing number of lawmakers calling for him to go.

Leader of Britain's opposition Labor Party, Keir Starmer, said he would welcome a snap election after the departure of Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak:

''We need a fresh start for Britain. We need a change of government and this government is collapsing."

Johnson narrowly survived a confidence vote in June, giving him 12 months of immunity.

But some lawmakers in his Conservative Party have been trying to change the party rules to shorten that period, while others appealed to Johnson’s team of cabinet ministers to move against him.

So how could the prime minister be forced out, and what is the process to finding a replacement?

How could Boris Johnson be forced out of office?

Johnson could decide he has lost the support of too many members of his party and the cabinet and resign. He has so far shown no signs of doing this.

Several more members of the cabinet could quit and call on Johnson to go, almost certainly forcing him to resign.

However, media reports suggest other senior members of the cabinet, including Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace are staying in place.

Some lawmakers have been trying to change the party rules so they can hold another vote of confidence sooner than is currently allowed.

Elections for the membership of the so-called 1922 Committee, which sets the rules, are due to be held.

Finding a successor

Were Johnson to be ousted, a process would be held to find a new leader overseen by the 1922 Committee.

Candidates putting themselves forward for the leadership must be nominated by two other Conservative lawmakers. There could be a wide field of candidates.

They then hold several rounds of secret ballot votes to whittle down the number of contenders.

That's repeated until there are only two candidates remaining.

They are then put to a postal ballot of the wider Conservative Party membership, with the winner named the new leader.

The leader of the party with a majority in the House of Commons is the de facto prime minister.

They do not have to call a snap election, but have the power to do so.

Despite Johnson being on the brink, Britain's new finance minister Nadhim Zahawi said voters would still back the government:

"If we focus on delivery over the second half of this parliament, people will judge us on that and I'm convinced that if we deliver on that, people will feel very differently in two years time…”

Johnson swept to power in 2019 in a landslide election. After this stream of resignations he pledged to continue fighting, saying he would not quit as prime minister unless the government could not carry on.