In a speech to his fellow Conservative lawmakers, Prime Minister Boris Johnson argued that the best was yet to come if they continued to support him, and that he would prove an election winner for a second time.
“I will lead you to victory again and the winners will be the people of this country,” Mr. Johnson said, according to excerpts from the text released by a party official.
Mr. Johnson also promised to reduce taxes and focus on the problems confronting Britain as he prepared to face a no-confidence vote on Monday after public outcry over violations of pandemic lockdown rules.
“We can deliver and we can unite,” he said.
Mr. Johnson warned that the opposition Labour Party would prevail in the next election “if we were so foolish as to descend into some pointless fratricidal debate about the future of the party when, frankly, there is no alternative vision that I am hearing.”
James Cleverly, a minister in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, said Mr. Johnson “was in very much serious mode,” and that his speech was “light on jokes and heavy on plans and policy.”
He said he believed Mr. Johnson would survive the vote, because he put forth a viable plan for the party: “For what he wants to do next, how we deliver on the promises we made in the 2019 general election, how we continue delivering through really, really difficult times.”
The prime minister is famous for making political escapes, and he told his party that there was “plenty of evidence over the last 20 years” that it would be wrong to write him off now.
But Steve Baker, an influential pro-Brexit lawmaker who has called on Mr. Johnson to resign, said the speech had not changed his vote.
“I told the prime minister that if he broke the law, he would have to go,” Mr. Baker said outside the meeting room in Parliament where Mr. Johnson addressed his party. “He’s clearly broken the law, he’s clearly acquiesced in the law being broken.”
Mr. Baker said he had helped Mr. Johnson become prime minister and described the situation as “an awful moment.”
Asked what he expected the result of the vote to be, Mr. Baker said it was “highly likely” that Mr. Johnson would retain the support of a majority of the party’s lawmakers, although there would be “quite a big vote against him.”
“But what that means over the months, I don’t know,” he added.