Liz Truss was given just 10 days to save her premiership as the Tory party’s annual conference descended into open warfare.
Senior ministers openly criticised the prime minister and chancellor’s decision to ditch plans to abolish the 45p tax rate paid by the highest earners as cabinet unity broke down.
It came after Commons leader Penny Mordaunt directly challenged Truss to increase benefits by the rate of inflation.
And in a further sign of the Tory meltdown, there was confusion over whether Kwasi Kwarteng will bring forward a crunch Commons statement on how he plans to balance the books.
The chancellor told GB News he was sticking to the original plan of delivering his medium term fiscal plan on November 23.
But Treasury sources confirmed it could be brought forward to later this month.
Meanwhile, former cabinet minister Grant Shapps - who Truss sacked when she became PM - suggested she only had 10 days to save her job.
Asked if she could be ousted, he said: “Anything is possible. But I think she has the opportunity in the next 10 days to reverse some of the problems of the last 10 days.”
The turmoil piled fresh pressure on Truss as she prepares to deliver her keynote speech to the Tory conference in Birmingham.
Truss this morning failed to rule out further U-turns as Tory MPs demanded she ditch plans to cut benefits in real terms.
The PM then failed to say that she trusts Kwasi Kwarteng, who she had previously appeared to blame for the 45p tax rate fiasco.
At a conference fringe event, home secretary Suella Braverman made clear her opposition to the 45p U-turn.
She said she was “disappointed” by the decision and also claimed the Tory rebels had “staged a coup and undermined the PM in an unprofessional way”.
Levelling up secretary Simon Clarke then tweeted his support for Braverman, further undermining Truss’s leadership.
One former cabinet minister told HuffPost UK said his party had gone “back to the 90s”, a reference to the Tory splits before New Labour’s landslide victory in 1997.
Speaking at a conference fringe event, former home secretary Priti Patel urged her party to back the PM.
Asked if the Tories should replace Liz Truss and find a new leader who could unite the party, Patel replied: “We’ve just done that, my friend, and nothing would be more divisive I think for the party in the country.”
Patel said the party was at its best when it was united, adding: “We’ve had yet another leadership campaign and leadership election.
“My message is very clear and very simple. We have a duty to serve our country and serve it well as proud conservatives.”