Liz Truss’s premiership is hanging by a thread after a tumultuous first six weeks in office.
The prime minister sacked Kwasi Kwarteng in an attempt to quell the unrest on Conservative benches.
But new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has since axed almost all of her ill-fated mini-budget – less than a month after it was unveiled.
On Monday, Ms Truss apologised for the mistakes she made over the government’s economic policies and said she intends to lead the Conservative Party into the next election.
But, ultimately, this may not be her choice if MPs move against her – and five of her own backbenchers have already done just that.
The Conservative MP for Reigate was the first MP out of the blocks to call for the prime minister to resign following her failed mini-budget last month.
Mr Blunt, a justice minister in the early years of David Cameron’s premiership, told veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil that Ms Truss should go “now” as “the game is up” after just six weeks.
Describing the “shocking few weeks” for the party, Mr Blunt told Mr Neil’s programme on Channel 4: “I would be very, very surprised if there are people dying in a ditch to keep Liz Truss as our prime minister.
“What we need to effect is a transition to a combination of the talents of Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Jeremy Hunt in the top leadership positions in the party.
“They probably need to sit down and have a conversation between themselves about how to best effect the chance. And I think that the collective position from those three would command very great support among the parliamentary and among the party in the country who are just desperate to get this sorted out.”
The Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire was the second of Ms Truss’s backbenchers to call for her to resign.
Mr Bridgen, who supported Ms Truss’s rival Rishi Sunak in the leadership campaign over the summer, announced his position in a scathing blog post which declared that Ms Truss had “run out of friends”.
“Liz has sunk her own leadership and her predecessor’s potential comeback at the same time, all in record time,” he wrote.
“Beleaguered Liz Truss has now run out of friends. She only ever had the support of a third of the elected MPs. We should expect more fireworks in Parliament this week.
“Unless this is resolved quickly, we are heading for a general election.”
But Mr Bridgen is not a stranger to the no confidence system.
Back in May, he became the twenty-seventh Conservative politician to tell Boris Johnson to quit over the partygate scandal – a series of events held in Downing Street and across Whitehall in breach of coronavirus rules.
The MP for Bridgend became the third Conservative MP to break ranks by calling for Ms Truss to quit.
Mr Wallis, who has been on the government’s backbenches since 2019, said the PM had “undermined Britain’s economic credibility and fractured our party irreparably”.
Sharing a letter to the PM on social media, he wrote: “In recent weeks, I have watched as the government has undermined Britain’s economic credibility and fractured our party irreparably.
“Enough is enough. I have written to the prime minister to ask her to stand down as she no longer holds the confidence of this country.”
Earlier this year, Mr Wallis released a highly personal statement saying he wants to transition to be a woman.
In his letter to Ms Truss, he called out senior members of the party for “exploiting the issue of transgender rights” during the leadership contest.
“Observing the hostile nature of the debate and then witnessing increased hostility towards transgender people on social media and in-person was distressing,” he wrote.
Mr Wallis acknowledged that “mistakes can be undone” but said he did not believe this was possible with Ms Truss as leader.
The MP for Guildford became the fourth Conservative MP to call for Ms Truss to depart Number 10, telling the Telegraph newspaper that it would be “better for the party and for the country to have a change in leadership at the top”.
Ms Richardson, who was also elected in 2019, said Ms Truss should resign and then a truncated leadership election should get underway “very quickly”.
“Whoever comes up top in the ballot, there should be a coronation. MPs should exercise common sense about that. This is a very pivotal point in time where mucking around is just not in the national interest,” Ms Richardson said.
“It could be the case that everybody who is frustrated with the PM wants a different outcome – our biggest difficulty is settling on someone.”
She continued: “If you think about the significance of what has just been announced by the chancellor today, this feels like even more of an unwinding of what she put together with Kwasi.
“We should never have been in this position in the first place. And now it’s very hard for me to see how she can credibly continue.”
Ms Richardson has previously spoken up against the government, having resigned from her role as an aide to former housing secretary Michael Gove in January amid growing discontent within the party.
Sir Charles Walker
The outgoing MP for Broxbourne became the fifth MP to publicly call for Ms Truss to go, telling Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby that the PM’s position is “untenable”.
Sir Charles, who has said he will stand down at the next election, said Ms Truss has “put colleagues, the country, through a huge amount of unnecessary pain and upset and worry”.
He continued: “We don’t need a disruptor in No 10. We need a uniter. I just think… it is just a situation that is… it can only be remedied I think, with a new prime minister.”
Asked whether Ms Truss could stay in her position, Sir Charles said: “Look, the prime minister has had a very torrid six weeks.
“Personally, I don’t think her position is recoverable. She would obviously take a different view.
“But if you read the mood of the parliamentary party, she has lost authority and you can’t lead a party if you don’t have some authority. She doesn’t have much of that.”
Sir Charles said he believes Ms Truss has “a week or two” left of her premiership.
He continued: “I’m just so cross. I’ve just had enough. And I think quite a few of my colleagues have had enough.”
How could Truss be ousted?
Under Conservative party rules, a new leader cannot be challenged through official procedures for at least a year after entering office. For Ms Truss, this would be until September 2023.
However, Conservative MPs who are disgruntled with Ms Truss’s leadership are still able to submit letters of no confidence in her to chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, Sir Graham Brady.
It is thought that if many letters are received, Sir Graham could have a mandate to change the rules of the leadership election process so that one could take place imminently.
If senior Conservatives and the chief whip were to find that Ms Truss had lost the support of the majority of her party in parliament, it would be difficult for her to fight on.
A rule change could potentially be agreed for Tory MPs to draw up a shortlist of two candidates from the backbenches who would then agree between themselves who would be PM and who would be deputy without going to the Conservative members.
Another option is that, as discontent from the backbenches grows, Ms Truss decides to fall on her sword and resign.
The Conservatives would then have to try and mobilise to unite behind a successor as quickly as possible.
Ms Truss could also call a general election to let the general public seal her fate, but would be unlikely to do so imminently with the Conservatives doing so badly in recent polls.