Ruth Davidson has said Boris Johnson must prove his loyalty to Theresa May amid suggestions the foreign secretary could be demoted in a reshuffle.
The Scottish Tory leader told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday morning that the prime minister was able to choose who she wanted in her cabinet as it was “entirely within her purview”.
Asked about Johnson, Davidson said: “He has come out to say he is fully behind every dot, comma, T and word of the Florence speech. I want to see the prime minister hold him to that.”
Davidson added that May was the “best person to lead us forward” following a week of turmoil in the party that saw an attempted coup.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, her first since her disastrous party conference speech in Manchester, May said signalled she could shake-up her top team.
Asked directly about Johnson’s position, she added: “It has never been my style to hide from a challenge and I’m not going to start now. I’m the PM, and part of my job is to make sure I always have the best people in my cabinet, to make the most of the wealth of talent available to me in the party.”
Johnson today suggested that only “nutters” in the Conservative Party wanted to oust May.
The foreign secretary backed the prime minister to “get on and deliver Brexit” as he insisted there was no public appetite for a change in leadership.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he compared the Tory party to a herd of elephants that had “sniffed the air” but turned away from plunging over a cliff edge after the attempted coup against May fizzled out.
The prime minister faced calls to sack Johnson after he overshadowed the start of the Tory conference by setting out his personal Brexit red lines.
In his newspaper article, he backed May to secure a “great and successful Brexit”.
An attempt last week by former Tory chairman Grant Shapps to oust May disintegrated after Conservative MPs turned against him.
Welwyn Hatfield MP Vicky Ford blasted Shapps as “completely out of touch”, revealing “he’s not even in our WhatsApp group”.
As the attempted coup withered, Shapps was added to the group simply so colleagues could make clear their fury at his move.
Sir John Major, the former prime minister, used an article in the Mail on Sunday to accuse “self absorbed” critics of undermining May.
However former Tory deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine has suggested May’s government would collapse before the 2022 election.
He said the DUP would be forced to focus on domestic issues in Northern Ireland rather than on propping up May’s minority government in the Commons.
“I myself don’t think that the Government will last through the Brexit process,” he told Channel 4 News.