A Tory minister has warned the party must not swing to the right after last week's by-election drubbing amid claims most Conservative members believe David Cameron will lose in 2015.
Nick Boles indicated the party failed to offer voters any hope in Eastleigh and repeated the same mistakes it has been making for more than a decade
The comments come as The Times reported that it had seen details of a canvass of Tory supporters that showed just 7% believed the Prime Minister will win an overall majority at the next general election while three quarters expect Labour to be in power.
Boles told the newspaper last week's Hampshire by-election, which saw the Tories pushed into third place behind Ukip, had been a "truly rotten campaign".
The planning minister said: "Where was the hope? It was as if modernisation had never happened.
"We screwed it up. We didn't even screw up in a new way. We screwed it up in an old way that we have been doing for a decade.
"It's so frustrating."
But Boles, an ally of the Prime Minister's, warned plotters they needed "their head seeing to" if they believed it was wise to attempt to oust Mr Cameron.Suggest a correction