Conservative MPs have begun publicly calling for Liz Truss to step down after just six weeks as prime minister following the financial turmoil in the wake of the mini budget.
Crispin Blunt, former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, was the first Tory MP to put his head over the parapet since Kwasi Kwarteng was sacked as chancellor on Friday.
He told Channel 4’s Andrew Neil Show: “I think the game is up and it’s now a question of how the legacy is managed.”
Mr. Blunt later told Sky News it was “blindingly obvious” that Mrs Truss had to go and back former chancellor Rishi Sunak to replace her.
“The main emotions of people who see her and do their best to present are a combination of pity, contempt or anger,” he said.
“I’m afraid it just won’t wash and we have to make a change.”
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen also called on Ms Truss to stand down as prime minister, telling the Telegraph his party “cannot go on like this”, adding: “Our country, its people and our party deserve better.”
Meanwhile, Conservative MP Jamie Wallis tweeted: “In recent weeks I have seen how the government has undermined Britain’s economic credibility and fractured our party beyond repair. Enough is enough.
“I have written to the Prime Minister to ask her to resign as she no longer has the confidence of this country.”
Asked how the party would get rid of Mrs Truss, Mr Blunt, who will stand down at the next election, said: “If there is such a weight of opinion in the Parliamentary party that we have to have a change, then it be accomplished.”
He later added, “If the issue is to be forced, a way can be found to force it.”
Under current Conservative party rules, a vote of confidence in a leader cannot take place until they have been in power for at least a year, so she is theoretically safe until next September.
However, there has been talk among MPs from the powerful 1922 backbench group of Tory MPs about changing the rules to reduce this buffer period.
If enough MPs submit letters of no confidence to the Prime Minister, then the 1922 director has little choice but to change them.
The committee’s treasurer, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, told Sky News the rules would only be changed if “an overwhelming majority of the party wants us to”.
If the committee was satisfied that the conditions were met, “then they would agree to change the rules”, he said.
However, he added: “I think we are a long way from that at the moment.”
Truss ‘unlikely to be number 10 this Christmas’
Andrew Mitchell, who became the new chancellor Jeremy Hunt‘s leadership campaign, told the BBC that if Mrs Truss “can’t do the job, I’m afraid she will go”.
Former chancellor George Osborne said Mrs Truss was unlikely to still be in Downing Street by Christmas.
He called her a “PINO – Prime Minister in name only” and said Ms Truss is “hiding in Number 10” as pressure mounts.
Asked if she might survive, he told the Andrew Neil Show: “Probably not.”
MPs believe it is simply not sustainable for Truss to remain as Prime Minister
I was told by a Cabinet source that Liz Truss had no option but to fire Kwasi Kwarteng because it was made clear to her that he had lost the confidence of the markets and her only hope of steadying the ship was to remove him.
But the implication is obvious: as another cabinet source put it to me at the weekend, what the markets do to it in the coming days will also be decisive for Truss.
The firewall provided by the chancellor has now burned through, and if there is no improvement, the signal will be that the problem is her.
Politically, the view that is taking hold among MPs is that it is simply not sustainable for her to remain as Prime Minister.
All eyes are now on Sir Graham Brady, the only person who knows when a leadership election has been triggered, to see what he does. Party rules say Truss has a one-year grace period, but they can change the rules.
But there is also a view, shared by Truss rivals and backers alike, that the Prime Minister has bought some time.
As one minister told me: “Despite the hysteria, the reality is we need to calm down, let Liz decide her new priorities and Jeremy deliver his budget. Nothing will be won in the next 14 days by more fratricide. ”
But the point is, as Conservative Home’s Paul Goodman put it, it’s over for Liz Truss, whether she’s pushed out or not.
Her financial project is finished and her authority is gone. And that makes it very difficult to see how she can lead the party into a general election.
I will be watching the markets and Sir Graham very closely on Monday.
Mark Garnier, Conservative MP for Wyre Forest, questioned Ms Truss’ stance but stopped short of directly calling for her to go.
He said those who agree with her appointing Mr Hunt chancellor are divided into two camps – those who believe MPs should give Mrs Truss time and those who want to “rip off the plaster”. .
“I think power is a very fickle thing and I think Liz Truss is in office but not in power,” he told BBC Politics Midlands.
“The question is, do we give her a chance or do we rip the cast off?
“The really important question is, do we feel confident that we’re going to go into the next general election with Liz Truss? If we don’t, I think we’re going to have to rip the plaster off.”
Tory grandee and pollster Lord Hayward told Sky News it will be “very difficult” for Mrs Truss to remain Prime Minister after the last few weeks and a new Chancellor after just 38 days.
On Sunday morning, both Mr. Hunt and Andrew Griffith, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, that they believe Mrs Truss will stay as they showed their loyalty to the Prime Minister.
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