George Osborne has been told to “shut up” by a Tory veteran after he described Theresa May as a “dead woman walking”.
The former Chancellor made the comments on The Andrew Marr Show as he warned May would not be Prime Minister for much longer.
Osborne’s words were echoed by current Tory MP Anna Soubry and Conservative peer Lord Heseltine, as the pressure on May ramped up just days after she lost her majority in the General Election.
In a sign of a growing split in the Tory ranks, Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin took to the airwaves this afternoon to warn his colleagues that such dissent would ultimately lead to a Labour government.
After telling Osborne and Heseltine to “shut up”, the Brexit-backing MP said: “Let’s get real here and just remind the Conservative Party and my colleagues the danger is if you carry on rocking the boat, you three, or four, or five people, you will finish up with Corbyn in Downing Street.”
Jenkin said he was giving May “100 per cent support” to stay on as Prime Minister, but admitted it was “far too soon” to say if she would lead the Tories into the next election.
He dismissed calls for another vote, but added: “If in six or twelve months time if we have another General Election it will be the fault of those MPs in my party who are trying to capitalise on this situation to reverse the decision of last year’s referendum - avidly pro-European, pro-EU colleagues who have never really accepted the referendum result.”
Speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, Osborne was withering about the woman who had sacked him from the Cabinet last year and suggested she could be challenged for the Tory leadership early as next week.
“Theresa May is a dead woman walking - it’s just how long she can remain on death row,” he said.
“I think we will know very shortly – in other words we could easily get to the middle of next week and it all collapses for her.”
Speaking on BBC Radio 5Live this morning, former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine – who was sacked as a Conservative advisor by May earlier this year – said the present Government “cannot last”.
When asked how long May would survive as party leader, he replied: “No one knows. She will never fight another election as leader of the Conservative party that is for sure. The important thing is how we determine that the leader who takes her place and above all the policy that is going to stop Corbyn gaining power in Number 10 Downing Street.”